“WWJD – What Would Joseph Do?”
Joseph provides men with a wonderful example of seeing and trusting in God’s grace through the eyes of faith. In Matthew 2:13-15, Joseph gives men today an example to follow in the vocations of husband and father – an example of faithfulness and trust in God. “Now when they had departed, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him’. And he rose and took the child and His mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’”
When the angel of the Lord informed Joseph of God’s plan to save the holy family from wicked King Herod, he did so without all the details. The angel only gave God’s promise to guide him. Joseph didn’t question God’s plan. He didn’t take time to ask why. He didn’t offer God a better alternative that would fit nicely into his own plans. He trusted God. Joseph was asked to be faithful. And by faith, Joseph was led to see God’s plan unfold. God gave Joseph the means to be faithful in taking care of his wife and child which certainly led to his being faithful in his vocations as father and husband throughout his life.
God gives fathers today means to be faithful as well – the means of grace. God’s Word and Sacraments provide the faith that furnishes guidance, comfort and strength; pointing them to the cross where sin is forgiven and to the empty tomb where there is rejoicing in the promise of eternal life. Where men fail – God’s grace restores. When the daily grind leads men to worry and become stressed out – God’s grace gives comfort and strength in the midst of struggles. In other words, God gives everything men need to be faithful husbands and fathers.
Men are called to be faithful just as Joseph was – faithful husbands to their wives and faithful fathers to their children. Even though men may not see blueprint of God’s plan laid out for them, they are given something better – God Himself in His Word, in the promises of Baptism and the nourishment of Christ’s body and blood given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.
As men fulfill their God-given roll as spiritual heads of the household, they are wise to look at Joseph’s example. By remaining faithful to God, as Joseph was, men are remaining faithful to their wives and children. There is no greater gift a man can give to his wife and children than to point them to God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament. And more than just pointing their wives and children to God’s Word and Sacrament, men are to be an example of faithfulness by leading their families by the hand, as Joseph did, to God’s Word daily and in receiving the Lord’s Supper regularly. In doing so they are strengthening themselves, their families, and the church.
God’s Word does not give much information about Joseph, not even a word from Joseph himself, but it does give men an example to follow in their vocations as husbands and fathers. Sometimes a good example is worth more than a thousand words. To be a Godly husband and father a man ought to ask himself “What would Joseph do?”
Pastor Michael Diener