A grandfather and the wise patriarch of his family, Jacob asks a surprising question to his sons. In Genesis 41 his sons are sitting around commiserating about the famine and the threat to their family. “When Jacob heard that there was grain available in Egypt, he said to his sons, ‘Why are you sitting around looking at one other?’.” Genesis 42:1. This is not something I would expect a wise sage to say, but when you dissect his question, there is a lot of wisdom in it.
In essence Jacob was saying, “There is a solution to this problem. So why are you wasting time talking about it…go after it.” This question was meant to jolt his sons into action. Jacob is addressing his sons because he is too old and disabled to complete the journey. He is depending on the younger generation to save his family.
We have all been in this boat. We have a problem, we know how to get to the solution, but will we ever do more than just look at each other and talk about it? Will action ever accompany desire? I may want a fit body, but unless I eat right and work out nothing will change. I may desire financial freedom, but unless I am disciplined enough to pay off debt and save, I will be stuck talking about it. I may want to further my career, but unless I pursue further training and education, it will not happen. We can often pinpoint the exact solution to our problems but need someone like Jacob to come along and ask, “Why are you sitting around looking at each other?”.
Since you have been saved you have probably heard countless testimonies of the power of the gospel, prayer and worship. There really is very little mystery in how we grow closer to God and walk in our purpose. There is a supernatural element that engages when we do things like reading our Bible, praying, serving, loving and worshipping; but in themselves these practices are practical and logical steps in our faith. So how do so many miss out on truly living with Christ? They never connect their problem to the solution.
Christ is the solution to whatever problem you have. I have talked to Christians that do more sitting around and talking about the way to a relationship with Christ rather than actually doing it. When you are doing it, your conversations become less about how you are stuck or contemplating the way to Christ. Your conversations become more about leading others to Christ; helping others bridge the gap from their problem to the solution. See, when you have taken that journey, you want to show others the way.
Jacob’s sons did take the journey to Egypt to get grain for their family. They made that journey three times in all. The second time they took their youngest brother and the third time, the whole family of over 70 people went. Jacob rode in style in a caravan supplied by the Pharaoh himself because he had the wisdom and audacity to ask, “Why are you sitting around looking at one another?”
Only those who go on the journey can testify to how good it is. Only those who are on a journey with Christ can take others along on the journey with them. We don’t find obese people testifying about how great a diet worked for them, because they haven’t been on the journey. We don’t hear financial advice from people who are upside down in their finances because they haven’t been on the journey.
When you’ve been there yourself and seen the wonders of going toward the solution and practicing some discipline, then you want to testify to how good it is and you want others to come with you. This is truer of our relationship with Christ than any other thing we will pursue in life. So get up! Why are you still sitting around looking at one another?