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  • Writer's pictureTodd Render


Reuben said: "Slay my two sons if I do not bring [Benjamin] back to you." Genesis 42:37 AMP

It's from the story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his half brothers, who then led their father to think Joseph had been killed by wild animals. Thirteen years later, Joseph is commanding Egypt, and the brothers are begging food to take back to their families during a severe famine. Except they don't even recognize Joseph, I suppose both from his new position as governor as well as the foreign garb. Joseph plays along, and notices his youngest brother is not with them. "But bring your youngest brother to me that I may know that you are not spies, but honest men." (Gen 42:34 NAS) When they return home and tell their father, he is distraught. Not only is he afraid of losing the youngest, Benjamin, but it's like losing Joseph all over again. So Reuben, the oldest brother, offers up his two sons. It is perhaps the most precious thing a father can give. It seems both a grave sacrifice and somehow proportionate - two sons for two sons.

But another of Jacob's sons, Judah, says: "I will be security for him myself; you shall require him of me [personally]; if I do not bring him back to you and put him before you then let me bear the blame forever." (Gen 43:9 AMP) To this their aging father is willing to agree, which in the fullness of time leads to a family reunion like no other in history.

What does it mean to be committed? At first, we might think it means giving up something dear, sacrificing what is important or even most important. This cuts deep into the heart of what gives us pleasure, satisfaction, or even meaning to our lives. Read this story, however, and it snaps to sharp focus: we can give everything that is not us - or we can commit ourselves.

There's an old joke about what a chicken and a pig give towards your bacon-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken makes a contribution, so it says; the pig is committed.

Judah was committed: 'it's on me, whatever happens.' Sure, we contribute to church and charity, to community and causes, and we are called to frame our hearts and wills to do so joyfully.

The God Who gave us these temporary lives, as act one in soul's eternity, is looking to see to what we would commit. Jesus was committed - so that we could be. Taking ownership to step in, in order to save someone else.

Be committed.


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