Faithfulness to remember and repay those who have helped us

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 6 – A closer look at the various types of people with whom we must be faithful

This is an aspect of faithfulness which applies in every relationship. There are bound to be people who, have helped you, given you things or prayed for you. Yet it is a feature of our selfish flesh nature that we tend to take such support for granted. We don’t appreciate it enough. Many times we do not even remember it. There are people who have done things for us but we forget them completely. Here is an example of that from the life of Joseph:

9So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 12Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. 13 In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14 Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. 15 For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.”

Genesis 40:9-15 (ESV)

Joseph had helped and encouraged a fellow prisoner while they were in jail together, but when that man got out of prison he forgot Joseph completely and did nothing to help him in return:

20On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Genesis 40:20-23 (ESV)

Most of us have played the parts of both Joseph and the cup-bearer in our own lives. We have been unfaithful to others by failing to repay them, or even to thank them. We have also experienced how ingratitude feels when it is shown to us by others. The first step in remedying this fault is to recognise that it exists and to begin to give it thought. We need to reflect on what we owe to others and start to make an inventory. Then begin to thank people and take opportunities to repay them in whatever way you can when they need your help. Positively seek for opportunities to repay others.

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