“Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who, though he was a member of the council, had not consented to their plan of action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. After he had taken the body down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been buried.”
Luke 23: 50-53
Joseph of Arimathea had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Gaining access with his status among the Jerusalem elite, he approached Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. In the wake of Jesus Christ’s torture, crucifixion and death, most of His closest friends had fled for fear of their lives. Joseph moved in the opposite direction, knowing that there would be no turning back.
Joseph had, most likely, already missed the hastily-called, middle-of-the-night meeting of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme council. One might guess that Joseph knew exactly what was going on and intentionally delayed his arrival so that he would be absent when his peers on the council called for Jesus to be crucified. His colleagues would have noticed his absence.
For those members of the Sanhedrin who had handed down the death sentence and witnessed the Roman soldiers carrying out the death sentence, their work was done. Now it was Joseph’s turn to take the initiative and the risk of asking for the body of Jesus, the action for which he is forever remembered in the history of Christianity.
It’s still happening today. What countercultural steps is God leading you to take? In a society that persecutes faith in action and approves atrocities including the taking of human lives, small decisions can have significant impact. Talk faith with a team member or colleague. Initiate a before-hours study or prayer gathering at work. Skip the coffee when the only option is the international chain that pours coffee with proceeds supporting abortion. Be an example of fairness and generosity by paying your people fairly and your bills on a timely basis.
These actions are mostly title-neutral within your organization. Take the steps you can right where you are right now. Put your influence and position to work on behalf of the Kingdom. After all, whatever platform and influence you have is given you from above.
History obscures what happened to Joseph following his act of courage. Faith leaves clues as to his ultimate destination. He stepped forward at a moment in time when he could use his position and influence to commit his allegiance, sacrifice his personal resources and leave us an everlasting example of using one’s platform to serve God’s Kingdom.
God’s call for us to use our position and influence will likely get less media coverage than Joseph’s noteworthy story. Our obedient response, however, is just as important to the King. Regardless of your position and influence, it’s not whether you’re called to use such resources for Kingdom purposes. Instead it’s a matter of when you’re called, to what and how. Listen closely, because the call will come. How you respond will tell our God and others where your true allegiance goes.
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John Carroll is a strategist and growth consultant based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He is a board member of LifeWorks Charleston and the founding board chair of Camp Rise Above. You can find him online at www.JohnCarroll.com, via e-mail at John@JohnCarroll.com and by voice and text at 843-224-8815.