When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
- Matthew 1:24-25
Let’s take a moment here to celebrate Joseph’s obedience. He knew that his obedience would be a costly obedience. He’d have to face teasing and scorn and shame. But he did what the angel commanded anyways.
Doing the right thing isn’t easy. It can be painful, unpopular, and exhausting. That’s why – for many of us – there exists a wide gap between what we know we should do and what we actually do. Think about your finances, diet, exercise, relationships, soul care, important-but-not-urgent initiatives at work, laundry, house cleaning, education, Christmas shopping … somewhere out there is something that you know you should be working on but keep procrastinating.
Joseph went home and did what the angel of the Lord commanded him: he married Mary despite the social discomfort caused by her pregnancy and gave the child the name Jesus. In just a few years, Joseph would flee with Mary and the child to Egypt and live there as refugees. When they were finally able to return to their home country, they had to settle in the backwaters of Galilee due to the on-going political instability of the region (see Matthew 2). In those early years of Jesus’ life, his adopted father sheltered him from political powers that would gladly have taken his life and obstructed his saving mission.
To put it sharply: Joseph’s obedience made it possible for Jesus to become our Savior.
Your small obedience to the Lord today could have significant ripple effects throughout history. Joseph couldn’t have fully understood the events that swirled around him. He just knew what he had been commanded to do. And he did it.
What small obedience is the Lord calling you to today? What do you know you should do but have been hesitating to do? Ask the Lord to give you the discipline, courage and vision to do what you need to do today.