In reading about Joseph in Matthew 1 this morning, the term “grinder” is what came to mind. Joseph could be counted on to do the right thing.
First, when he found out that Mary was pregnant, rather than make a spectacle of her to clear his name, he looked to get the matter resolved privately. (Matthew 1:19)
Second, when the angel explained what really happened, Joseph did what the angel told him to do. He followed through and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:24)
One aspect of small town living is that people know what is happening in their neighbors’ lives. It would have been no different for Joseph and Mary.
If Joseph knew that Mary was pregnant, it would not have been long before the rest of the town would have figured it out. Mary was pregnant before their marriage had been finalized. This was a scandal that would have tongues working overtime sharing the sordid details of what must have happened. Rumors of what had happened would have worked their way through the entire community.
When Joseph decided to do the right thing and marry Mary, he was taking on a lifetime of people whispering behind his back about the timing of Jesus’ birth. Therefore, Joseph became Mary’s husband and Jesus’ father at some personal cost. He willingly bore the stigma of the timing of events surrounding his marriage and Jesus’ birth. The birth would continually have had the stigma of illegitimacy attached to it.
To readers in 2015, this may seem like less of a big deal than it really was. Our culture has a flexible view of marriage and what is permissible before marriage. So we need to work a little to understand how scandalous this really was.
My big takeaway this morning is that Joseph did the right thing in the right way even when no-one else knew or acknowledged that it was the right thing. Joseph was a grinder, getting the job done even when it is not glamorous.
Paul tells us that we are all called to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). This means that we are called to do the right thing even when it may cost us something or if it goes against the grain of our culture.
As I consider Joseph this morning, I am encouraged by his example. Are you? Please take a moment and share your thoughts below.