Lessons from Joseph the Dreamer

When you think about dreams in the Bible, there are probably two individuals that come to mind: Daniel and Joseph. Both of these men were used by God to have and interpret dreams several times. I spoke about Daniel in a previous post (“What’s Your Dream“). This post is a focus on what Joseph did with his dreams and how he reacted.

This is part 3 of this series: Part 1 - “What’s Your Dream“; Part 2 – “You’re Living in a Dream World

Photo by Jaime Duplass | PhotoXpress.com

Photo by Jaime Duplass | PhotoXpress.com

As a child, Joseph was having dreams. It wasn’t a “never-ending fall” dream or a “can’t run from the danger” dream. It wasn’t a “get embarrassed in front of a crowd” dream either. It was a dream with significance. There was  substance and meaning to his dream. His family – mom, dad, and brothers – hated his dreams and discouraged him.

Lesson: We need to learn to realize and accept our dreams. We also need to make sure that we are not squelching the dreams of others – especially of family members. Even if a dream seems far-fetching, who are we to say they can’t accomplish it? History is filled with examples of people that started as “nothing” and became “something”.

By the way: becoming “someone” is not the measure of success. Accomplishing God’s purpose for your life – even seemingly insignificant things.

2. Joseph shared his dreams

He was open with his dreams. He knew they weren’t something that he could just keep to himself. His dreams were meant to be shared. Even when there was opposition, he still shared the dreams.

We need to learn to share our dreams with others. It can be a source of encouragement – even if there is opposition or if it seems impossible. Studies have shown (and I’ve seen it in my own life) that the more senses and more associations you make with something, it is easier to remember. Sharing our dream can keep it alive in our lives.

In business, ministry, or other public situations, we need to learn to share our dreams there as well. Every organization needs a clear vision or dream. This vision needs to be shared – and shared often – for others to catch the vision for themselves.

3. Joseph helped others understand their dreams

As Joseph was following his dreams, he was not self-absorbed. He was also actively working to help others. While he was in prison, the Bible records two men that Joseph worked with and interpreted their dreams for. One was a bad situation, but honesty was the right and proper thing for him to do. This focus on others led him to the Pharaoh, which was the fulfilling on his own dream.

We need to take time to help others work through their own situations – figuring out their dreams. Even when we haven’t “arrived” yet. Most of the time, helping others is part of the process of “arriving”.

4. Joseph was patient and diligent

Knowing your dreams as a child would be difficult. A short attention span and a want-it-now attitude would have worked against Joseph. With God’s help, he was able to wait patiently for years before seeing his dream unfold. Throughout this time, he was also diligent to do everything that he could do, even if it didn’t seem to have a direct connection to his dream. I mean, who would have thought that listening to two convicts tell their dream would have led to him becoming the second highest person in the world?

Patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Most of us are rarely patient if we take this definition. But all of us need to learn patience. How do we learn patience? By going through problems, and going through them without getting angry or upset.

5. Joseph was grateful for his opportunities

You don’t see a sense of hostility on Joseph’s part. Yes, he did have a little “fun” with his brothers when they first came to Egypt; but that’s what brothers are for, right? Genesis 50:20 says: “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Gratefulness is such a vital virtue that we need to cultivate. Not just saying “thank you,” but really being grateful from the heart. Attitude is the key that determines the outcome of our circumstances.

Question: How can you learn from Joseph’s example?