Every week at the Little Light House, we have a different Bible story. This week, it's Joseph. I like the story of Joseph. It's kinda like a lot of other stories in the Bible: it's sad, it's happy, it's confusing, it's scary, it's funny, it's out there, it's something we can relate to, it's full of bad choices, it's full of good choices, it's about redemption, and it eventually all comes down to Jesus.
To teach the story of Joseph to preschoolers with special needs, we must simplify the narration. Obviously. So we leave out certain things (like Potipher's wife) and we over-emphasize other things (like the coat of many colors), but they get the point: God was with Joseph, and God is with us!
One day last week, our wonderful physical therapist came up with an activity relating to the cupbearer in the Joseph story. As she was introducing the activity, she explained to the kids that Pharaoh had a cupbearer who brought him his drink, just like their teachers were their cupbearers and brought them their drinks at lunchtime.
Now, I'm not proud of this, but I have to be honest: my initial (internal) response was, "Umm...NUH-UH!! If we're their cupbearers, that makes us the slaves and them the masters. That would mean they're in charge, and they do NOT need any encouragement in THAT mentality!!"
As I grumbled to myself, the Lord gave me a little smack upside the head. He quite clearly spoke to my spirit, "Umm, yes. You ARE their cupbearers. You are here to serve them. (That doesn't mean they're in charge.) But you are here to serve. And by serving them, you are serving Me."
"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40
I am a cupbearer. And not just that, I am a cupbearer to the King!!! Every time I place those sippy cups and cups-with-straws and open-cups-with-one-tiny-mouthful-of-water-so-they-don't-spill-it in front of those kiddos, I am serving the God of Heaven. What a thought!!
As I marveled at that reality, the Lord brought to my mind a lesson I had been taught years ago about the cupbearer's job. See, the cupbearer didn't just grab Pharaoh's glass, carry it to the table, and set it down in front of him. No. It was the cupbearer's job to taste whatever was in Pharaoh's cup to make sure it wasn't poisoned. That way, if Pharaoh's drink was poisoned, the cupbearer died instead of Pharaoh.
The cupbearer died to himself that the King might live instead.
That's my job. Whether I'm setting cups before preschoolers or sitting in a meeting or hanging out with my family or building houses in third-world countries or sitting at my computer late at night writing a blog, I am supposed to die to myself that the King might live instead. That is the essence of cupbearing, and it's the calling of everyone who chooses to be a follower of Christ.
I don't think it's a coincidence that when Christ was in the garden before He was crucified, He asked His Father to take the cup from Him. He knew the contents of the cup He was about to drink were poisoned. But He drank it anyway. He died to Himself that the King might live instead. What an example He set for us!!
"Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.'" Matthew 16:24
He set the example, and we are called to follow it. It's the greatest job in the world, because it's not about us living right; it's about us dying! It's not about us becoming more; it's about us becoming less!!
"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30
So would you come cup-bear with me? It's the hardest easy job in the world. All you have to do is die to yourself that the King might live instead.
...and that's what I learned at preschool this week.