The Spiritual Insights of Benjamin By Dr. Mark L. Vincent
Learning from the Spiritual Insights of Benjamin
My spiritual journey during a COVID pandemic has been to read through the Apocrypha and, more recently, the Pseudepigrapha. Digging more deeply into the literature surrounding the time of Christ’s Advent and the couple of centuries that followed where devout Hebrews and followers of the Way (increasingly called “Little Christs”) has renewed and reinforced my faith and discipleship.
A particular highlight has been the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs of the House of Israel. Each of the 12 sons of Jacob gathers their sons to share final wisdom after living long years and experiencing the pain of misdeeds and the beauty of virtue. Most fascinating of all to me was the testament of Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest and a full brother to Joseph, whom all the other brothers had sold into Egyptian slavery, setting up the Exodus story centuries later.
Benjamin points his sons to their uncle Joseph’s example, a person who did not hate those who harmed him, sold him into slavery, falsely accused him, or threw him in prison. “Love your enemy as you love your own life,” Benjamin tells his sons from his deathbed.
If his sons took Benjamin’s advice, they became instruments of peace. Their following uncle Joseph’s example and not returning violence with ever-escalating and vengeful violence meant that:
They would not add to the carnage of other innocent victims.
Cruel perpetrators might become sorrowful and change their ways.
Future victims of violence might be spared.
In the middle of threatening riots, European war that threatens to spread still wider, rising nuclear threats, and increasing conflicts between neighbors, the example of Joseph calls to all of us who fancy ourselves as Steward Leaders.
His brother Benjamin’s final words come to us now, centuries beyond, while we create future value rather than destroy it.
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