Monday, January 17, 2011

Don't Cut Against the Grain!

Genesis 42:1-2
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said, to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” Go down there and buy some for us so that we may live and not die.”

My father taught me a shaving tip that has stuck with me for years. As an African-American man I have to shave my face differently than other men because of the curly texture of my hair. My father taught me to shave with the grain as opposed to cutting against the grain. I have to cut in the direction that the hair is naturally growing. If you cut against the grain the hair would grow back curled up under the skin causing unsightly razor bumps. As men we need to cut in the direction that the grain is growing to avoid the bumps. To cut against the grain always causes problems, especially for men of color.

There is a natural order to life where God gives us opportunities for sustaining life but we must avail ourselves to what God provides. There are no shortcuts. Shortcuts either lead to loss of blood or bumps in the road. God provides natural opportunities like education, honest work, responsibilities to raise our children but many times we cut against the grain by not taking our education serious, trying to make fast money through unscrupulous shortcuts and not raising our children as a result we have a lot of bumps in our lives.

It’s not until we know better that we do better. Jacob “learned” that there was grain in Egypt during a famine in Bethel. During this recession we have got to learn where the new jobs are and go with the grain. The problem is that the Father had the information that the sons were not acting on. The sons were idle in a famine when there was grain in Egypt.

Why were they sitting around looking at each other when there was grain in Egypt?

1. Maybe they were waiting for the food to run out. When times are hard we don’t sit around until all the money is gone before we decide to find provision.

2. Maybe they didn’t know because the Father hadn’t instructed them. As Leaders of our families, we must teach what we expect to see.

3. Maybe they thought the trip was too long to Egypt. There is an African proverb that says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Begin today.

4. Maybe they thought Egypt was cutting against the grain since it was a different culture. We have to diversify our outlook for new opportunities. You might have to find work around people totally different from you.

5. Maybe they were waiting on the father to do for them what they needed to do for themselves. When we reach the age of maturity we can no longer sit back and expect our parents to keep doing for us.

The father told them to go get the grain so that they would live and not die. Today, go with the grain:

1. Begin to research recession proof jobs.

2. Think about mobile businesses to cut down on the overhead of buildings and staffing.

3. Go where the opportunities are even if it's outside of your cultural comfort zone.

4. Go with your brothers/sisters, get an investment group. There is power in numbers.

5. Realize that it might take you a while to get there but take your time.

Dear God,
Thank you for showing me where the grain is. I’m ready for this wonderful opportunity you’ve give me to provide for my family. Give me the wisdom to know which direction to go. Give me the strength to make the journey to where the grain is. Give me the skill to negotiate a new deal to bring back grain to my family so that we may live and not die. Thank you Lord for New Grain.

In Jesus Name,

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