And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve
life. Genesis 45:5.
George Washington Carver was born in 1864 to slaves living in Missouri.† He could not read or write but as a young boy,
after Emancipation, he had a burning desire to learn. Eventually he made his way to Iowa State University where he
received an undergraduate degree and later a Masterís Degree in Botany.† He was hired by Booker T. Washington,
President of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, to teach and do research there.† Both Washington and Carver believed the
only way for their people to rise above prejudice and poverty was to work hard and perform useful jobs for the South.
By the late 1800ís, due to the boll weevil, cotton prices were falling, plunging the South further into depression
during the time of Reconstruction.† Carver performed countless experiments on the peanut, sweet potato, soy bean, and
pecan and revolutionized farming in the South, finding 325 uses for the peanut.† Without exaggeration we can say a
black man, the son of slaves, brought economic salvation to the South.† Early in his career at Tuskegee Institute, the
great inventor Thomas Edison offered Carver $100,000 to work for him in New Jersey. That would be equivalent today to
several million dollars, and Carver declined, remaining at Tuskegee Institute for his salary of $1500 per year, saying
that he had not been called to money but to serve the people of the South.
What moved one born to slaves, living in a time of great agitation and prejudice, to serve those who had so wronged his
people? The answer, very clearly, is Carverís faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because he knew he had been forgiven the
great debt of his owns sins, he knew he was obligated to forgive others the wrong done to him. He came to see Godís
hand, what we call providence (making provisions for a future trip, for example), in all the affairs of his life. Like
Mordecai who suggested to Esther that perhaps she had been raised up as Queen 'for a time such as this', Carver saw God
in the details of his life. He understood that God had raised him up, had gifted him, to provide a profound and
practical benefit to the South.
Likewise, after being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, after being falsely accused by Potipharís wife and
then imprisoned, God raised up Joseph, a type of Christ, to be the saviour of his people, providing the food they
needed during the seven years of famine.† Genesis 45 records a profoundly moving account of Joseph revealing himself to
his brothers, saying that they should not be grieved or angry with themselves because God sent him before them to
preserve them, to keep them alive by a great deliverance.
I want specifically to apply this to your relationship with your siblings and other brothers and sisters in Christ.†
First, concerning your siblings, may I suggest you forgive them for wrongs they did to you while growing up in the same
household, Matthew 6:14, 15. I cannot imagine any family devoid of having cruel words or actions between siblings. What
are those debts your siblings owe you? Can you remember harsh or degrading things they said or did? Will you release
them of the debt they owe you? You also need to soften your heart toward them, allowing your forbearing spirit to be
made known to all, Philippians 4:5. You very well know the weaknesses of character and behaviour of your siblings, but
you are to be long-suffering toward them, giving them the benefit of the doubt. You are to remember the good times you
had, though there may certainly be many bad ones as well.
Paul tells the Philippians to dwell on those things which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good
reputation, Philippians 4:8. Only by practicing these things can peace rule in your heart. And you are to move toward
your siblings. Paul in Philippians 2:1, 2 commands them to have the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in
spirit, intent on one purpose. The natural tendency is to move away from those who have hurt you, not bothering to
maintain a relationship as you get older and move in separate arenas; but to maintain love, to be united in spirit, to
be intent on one purpose screams out intentionality. Call, write, e-mail, invite your siblings to your home so that you
may re-establish or further establish your blood relationships. Why? One simple reason is when your parents die, no-one
else but you and your siblings will appreciate the details of your family life. Without your parents, you will feel
very lonely and you will need each other even more.
And for brothers and sisters in Christ, I suggest you speak truth to each other, Ephesians 4:25. Those battling
serious, chronic depression, those tempted to fall into grievous sin need brethren who will warn them, will ask them
the tough questions, who willingly will risk their friendship to be truthful, who will encourage with the words of
life. You need to share with brethren in need, Ephesians 4:28. I remember having only $15 one day while in Seminary and
my wife said we needed groceries. What was she to do? I said, 'Buy $15 worth of groceries.' For the next three days I
anonymously received $25 in cash in my Seminary post office box, and to this day have no idea who gave it. The world
will take notice when they see Christians living with such magnanimity. You ought to put away all bitterness, anger,
wrath, malice, clamour, and slander. You can certainly disagree with brethren, even strongly so, but there is never any
reason for caustic, vitriolic, vituperative speech. Donít be a 'grenade thrower', one who comes into a meeting and
hurls a verbal grenade at the unsuspecting audience, walking away from the resultant carnage and suffering. Instead put
on speech and actions of kindness, being tender-hearted, forgiving others, just as God in Christ has forgiven you,
You may say, 'You donít know my circumstances. You have no idea how a sibling damaged me years ago with her words.' You
may say, 'I donít want to get involved with other peopleís problems. I have enough of my own.' I remind you of the Lord
Jesus in Mark 10:45ff, telling his indignant disciples that they are not to be as the Gentiles who lord their authority
over others. Instead they are to understand that those who wish to be great must become servants of everyone. Jesus
gives himself as a redeeming, empowering example, telling them that he did not come to be served, but to serve, and to
give his life as a ransom for many. You can forgive your siblings. You can move toward them. You can speak truth in
love. You can share with those in need. You can put away anger and bitterness. You can always be kind and respectful.
How? Are you not united to the Lord Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection, by the work of the Holy Spirit who
indwells and empowers you? Who currently do you need to pursue? Have you been unkind in your speech? Will you repent
and seek Christ for grace?
Rev. Allen M Baker is Pastor of Christ Community Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, Connecticut.