Second Fiddle

“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took Mary as his wife.” -Matthew 1:24

Read: Matthew 1:18-25
Afriend of mine created for himself a striking email address: He actually played violin, but his chosen address had a deeper meaning. During the time he was my pastor, he discerned that his gifts were more suited to a different role in church ministry than leading a church. He resigned and later served in a support role in a congregation led by someone with effective church leadership gifts. He was willing to play “second fiddle.”

I wonder what label Joseph would select if he were creating an email address for himself today. I suspect “second-fiddle” would fit him perfectly. Playing second fiddle, supporting those far more well-known and honored, seems to have been his life’s calling. His wife Mary gets 20 times as much press in the Bible as Joseph does. Throughout church history it’s probably 200 as much. And then there’s his adopted son, Jesus—Messiah, Savior, Lord, King, Son of God—the titles of honor are unending.

Almost everything we know about Joseph is presented in today’s short text. He was righteous; he listened to and obeyed God’s instructions. That’s about it. Beyond that, all we know is that for at least 12 years, he helped raise the Son of God and some younger children.

Playing second fiddle seems to have suited Joseph well and he played the role graciously. If you have not been made first chair in God’s orchestra, find in Joseph a model of righteous, obedient listening and of humble, faithful service.

Lord Jesus, you lived your life honoring and serving your heavenly father, just as your earthly father, Joseph, lived his life, honoring and serving God, his wife and you. Thank you for the model Joseph provides for us today.

Tim Geddert, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary