My grandmother saw a movie that she called “the cutest little movie.” The cutest little actress in it was Doris Day. The rest of my grandmother’s life she talked about the cute little movie and the cute little actress. This past year Doris Day died.
At the end of each year newspapers and news shows have lists of people that died. Most of these lists include actors, actresses, sports stars, writers, singers, dancers, champions, and down and outers. Sometimes the list will include someone that has done some remarkable thing and died suddenly. We say that that person died too soon. Other times the person has done something remarkable and lived for many more decades. Sometimes the people will live out their life in opulence and other times they live in suffering with poor health, poor finances, or poor family relationships. Basically, we all live the same kind of life. We have up and downs just like the rich and famous or the poor and obscure.
This year there were all sorts of people on the list. One sports star was the hero of one of my friends. My friend wanted to be a basketball star. Well my friend never got to be that basketball star and he died several years ago. He didn’t get to outlive his hero.
Some of these notable people pop on the scene for doing something like writing a book or making a movie and disappear. We learn later that they led an interesting life doing all the things you thought they would. Other times they change into a completely different person that has nothing to do with a famous pursuit.
The lists are interesting. It gives you a chance to look at the many interesting things that people do. The lists also remind us that no matter what we all have to die. Try as we like, time keeps marching on and we are faced with living out our lives. It doesn’t matter whether we are famous, obscure, rich, poor, healthy or sick. Sooner or later we have to end up on a list with other people that have died.
That brings us to the real purpose of this story. We all get a finite amount of time to live our life. Who was the greatest businessman ever? That man was Joseph. You know, the coat of many colors Joseph. If you remember the story, his brothers sold Joseph into slavery. He was a slave and then he was thrown into prison. Joseph went from a slave in prison to the governor of all Egypt. He teaches us to save in good times for the coming bad times, he saves a region from starvation and he reunites his family. He dies and is buried in Egypt. That’s the end of the book of Genesis.
In the eighth verse of Exodus it says “there arose a new king that knew not Joseph.” They forgot the greatest businessman in only eight verses. Think how quickly we’ll be forgotten. It won’t make any difference whether we are rich, famous, poor of obscure.
Seeing lists like these should remind us that the moral of this story is “Don’t take yourself so seriously.”