COVID-19 has brought the world to her knees. Governments have proved clueless, helpless in fact. Lockdown is the order of the day. #StayAtHome is the trending hashtag. Economies are crashing. Jobs are being lost. People are dropping dead. This thing is finally real and it’s getting closer to home for us all.
Social distancing has helped promote Social Media astronomically. Instagram live sessions are the in-thing. Zoom and Skype are buzzing with meetings. Netflix subscriptions are being renewed. Network providers are cashing out on data subscriptions and Wi-fi fees.
With all these going on, I begin to ask myself pertinent questions.
What happens after all this is over?
Will things just return to normal?
What does the Post-Covid era look like?
Your guess is as good as mine. Things will never be the same after the pandemic. A shift is coming. A global shift. I would use a passage of Scriptures to illustrate what I mean.
Remember Joseph? Yeah. 11th son of Jacob, sold by his brothers into slavery, imprisoned by his master Potiphar based on a false accusation from his wife. Yeah. Good thing was Joseph had a gift of interpretation of dreams. So whilst in prison, he interpreted dreams for two of Pharaoh’s servants. One of them got his job back in the palace and when Pharaoh had a puzzling dream, Joseph was called upon to interpret. And then Pharaoh made him Prime Minister, Second in Command!
And then we saw another side to Joseph. Please take time to read this. I know it’s quite long but please, do read it.
The time eventually came when there was no food anywhere. The famine was very bad. Egypt and Canaan alike were devastated by the famine. Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan to pay for the distribution of food. He banked the money in Pharaoh’s palace. When the money from Egypt and Canaan had run out, the Egyptians came to Joseph. “Food! Give us food! Are you going to watch us die right in front of you? The money is all gone.”  Joseph said, “Bring your livestock. I’ll trade you food for livestock since your money’s run out.” So they brought Joseph their livestock. He traded them food for their horses, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. He got them through that year in exchange for all their livestock.  When that year was over, the next year rolled around and they were back, saying, “Master, it’s no secret to you that we’re broke: our money’s gone and we’ve traded you all our livestock. We’ve nothing left to barter with but our bodies and our farms. What use are our bodies and our land if we stand here and starve to death right in front of you? Trade us food for our bodies and our land. We’ll be slaves to Pharaoh and give up our land-all we ask is seed for survival, just enough to live on and keep the farms alive.”  So Joseph bought up all the farms in Egypt for Pharaoh. Every Egyptian sold his land-the famine was that bad. That’s how Pharaoh ended up owning all the land and the people ended up slaves; Joseph reduced the people to slavery from one end of Egypt to the other.  Joseph made an exception for the priests. He didn’t buy their land because they received a fixed salary from Pharaoh and were able to live off of that salary. So they didn’t need to sell their land.  Joseph then announced to the people: “Here’s how things stand: I’ve bought you and your land for Pharaoh. In exchange I’m giving you seed so you can plant the ground. When the crops are harvested, you must give a fifth to Pharaoh and keep four-fifths for yourselves, for seed for yourselves and your families-you’re going to be able to feed your children!”  They said, “You’ve saved our lives! Master, we’re grateful and glad to be slaves to Pharaoh.”  Joseph decreed a land law in Egypt that is still in effect, A Fifth Goes to Pharaoh. Only the priests’ lands were not owned by PharaohGenesis 47:13-26 MSG
The businessman in Joseph came to the fore.
Let’s pick out the things he did one by one
1. First, he sold them food. He had stored up food in the seven years of plenty, thanks to the knowledge that a famine was coming. This revelation of the famine was common knowledge to everyone, so what gave Joseph an advantage? He used his position of authority to prepare for the famine and when the famine finally came, he did what any business person would do. He cashed out well. People came to him for food and he made sure to “sell” it to them. He made sure they paid for it.
But soon, the people ran out of money. And Joseph still had food in store. The people demanded that he “give” them food. They even tried to guilt trip him “Are you going to watch us die in front of you”
2. Seeing that cash was no longer available, Joseph switched to a different payment method. Livestock. If they truly wanted food, they had to pay for it one way or the other. They still had their livestock so, he took it as payment for the food he would give, no scratch that, sell to them them. Was Joseph being unfair, or was he just being prudent. Truth is, it was only a matter of time before they ran out of livestock too. What happened next shows the kind of businessman Joseph was.
3. The people saw that guilt tripping wouldn’t work on Big Joe. So by themselves, they suggested a payment plan for the food. They had run out of livestock, and all they had were their bodies, and their farms. All they cared for now was survival. That’s the key word, Fam. Survival. Every Egyptian (save the priests) sold their farms to Joseph. And trust Big Joe, he bought it. He had enough food to go round, even to give them seed to plant on the land they had sold to him! And then they would till the land, harvest the crops and give one-fifth of the harvest to Pharaoh (after all, he owned them and the land)
Some say Joseph was a ruthless capitalist. The people of Egypt had a different opinion. “You’ve saved our lives, we’re grateful to you and glad to be slaves to Pharaoh”, they said.
I bet you’re reading this and asking yourself, “How all this one take consign us now?”
Well, I’m not a prophet of doom and I don’t know how long this pandemic will last for, or how bad different economies would be affected. One thing I know is this. I would rather come out of this a Joseph, than an Egyptian.
I’m beginning to ask the pertinent questions
What value do I have that is key to global survival in this period, and even beyond. And how much stock of this value do I have? And hope I would not be guilt tripped into giving freebies for something I should be charging for?
Most importantly, do I even have something that is needed for the survival of mankind?
From your friend in this lockdown season,
Stay safe, Stay at Home.
PS. Coming soon to the blog is a novel I and two other beautiful writers are working on. It’s called “The Burnt Stygian”. Look out for it.
Posted in: Pastor Femi