As part of our town’s annual tulip festival last spring, I watched the night show. The musical they chose to put on for this year was “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The delightful music and the great acting made it all a wonderful experience. But the line that made my spirit soar is one ‘Joseph’ said after Pharaoh had appointed him second in command in Egypt: “Anyone from anywhere can make it if they’re open to God’s grace.”
This sentence is not actually in the Bible story. I wonder what, exactly, the writer of the musical meant by it? Did he mean that the reason Joseph became ruler of Egypt second only to Pharaoh was because Joseph was open to God’s grace? Did he mean because Joseph had faith in God that he became what God had created him to be?
I think he meant that Joseph had success because of God’s grace. Grace is a gift. It is undeserved mercy. But if a person is in rebellion against God, he’s not receiving the gift. Therefore he is not becoming what God has created him to be or doing the work God has called him to do.
As I searched in the Bible for verses to shed light on grace, I found that Jonah had said, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8). Jonah had learned his lesson. When he was not open to God’s grace, rebelling against God’s plan for his life, he ended up in the belly of a large fish. However, he repented inside that fish and it “vomited Jonah onto dry land,” (Jonah 2:10). Then God gave Jonah a second chance to do what he had called him to do. Consequently, the whole city of Nineveh repented! Then God had compassion on them rather than destroying them as he had threatened.
So, going back to the sentence I heard in the musical: “Anyone from anywhere can make it if they’re open to God’s grace,” I glean from this important truths. First of all, the message of God’s undeserved mercy (grace) is intended to be available to everyone. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your heritage, or what you look like. Even if you come from a messy situation or shady past, God in Christ has paid the price for your salvation. But he won’t force it on you. You need to be open to receiving this gift in order to receive it.
Joseph (the Biblical hero of our Musical) was successful in fulfilling the purpose God chose for his life because he responded to God. He said ‘yes’ to God, he believed in God and obeyed him. He knew his success, his “making it” was not because of his own efforts, but because of the one who was in charge of his life. “Anyone from anywhere can make it if they’re open to God’s grace.” Amen.
By Judith Vander Wege, Orange City, IA