Don't Seek The Spotlight

Featuring Toby Baxley Posted on June 18, 2011

Psalm 105:19 Until the time came to fulfill his dreams,
      the Lord tested Joseph’s character.

Have you had a dream of what God was going to do in your life? Something you felt sure he was calling you to accomplish? Has the waiting seemed like it will never end? Have you felt forgotten by God?

This verse reached up and grabbed me by the throat this morning. If you recall, Joseph was Israel's (formerly Jacob) favorite son. He had a dream that his brothers and father would bow down to him one day. His brothers didn't like that too much so they threw him in a well and sold him into slavery. He ended up in Egypt in the house of Potiphar, and Egyptian official. God granted Joseph favor with Potiphar and was put in charge of everything in Potiphar's house. When Joseph refused the sexual advances by Potiphar's wife, she falsely accused him of attacking her and he ended up in prison. Once again, God granted Joseph favor with the jailer and Joseph was put in charge of the prison in which he was incarcerated. After "some time", Joseph was released from prison when Pharaoh had a troubling dream and it was revealed that Joseph could interpret dreams. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream to mean that Egypt was on the brink of a severe famine after seven years of abundance. Joseph was put in charge of all of Egypt and was tasked with the responsibility to prepare an entire country for seven years of drought and famine.

You can read the rest from Genesis Chapter 41 to the end of the book.

I recently read the book Quitter by Jon Acuff (Hardcover | Kindle Ed.). At one point in this book, he basically says to treasure anonymity, where you can make your mistakes and hone your craft in private. I'd like to build on this idea and give a few more observations from the story of Joseph:

  1. Don't seek the spotlight. Aside from growing in your craft and making your mistakes in anonymity, it is important that you grow in your relationship with Christ "in the secret".
  2. Do good when no one is watching. Another way to put this is "do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.
  3. Development of character is accomplished in obscurity. Revelation of character is accomplished in public. Public ministry is like a microscope. Eventually, every nook and cranny of your character will be exposed under the light. It is better to develop your character and kill your sin in private before that happens.
Public ministry of any kind should be like the tip of an iceberg. Only about ten percent of an iceberg is apparent above the water. The other 90 percent is below. Our lives should reflect that as well. Our ten percent public ministry is deepened and crafted by the 90 percent that we invest in secret.
Don't seek the spotlight. When the time is right, the spotlight will seek you.

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