We often think of assets and liabilities in relation to finances, looking at loans, income and investments that we have made, etc. I’d also suggest that we could look at our personhood to consider talents and abilities that could be our assets along with shortfalls and weaknesses that could be our liabilities.
All of us have assets and liabilities, strengths and weaknesses. It’s helpful when we can live wholly in our strengths and avoid our weaknesses, but life doesn’t always work out like that. In general, we live a blended life, enjoying our strengths as the assets God has put in our lives along with navigating our weaknesses, trying to offset our liabilities.
What would you consider to be some of your strengths or assets? What are your weaknesses or liabilities? For myself, I think that some of my strengths are being a learner and adaptability. For my weaknesses, I know that I can struggle to express myself from time to time and I can often miss the importance of life’s practicalities.
For a biblical example, Joseph is an interesting person to consider when it comes to assets and liabilities. Because he was his dad’s favorite, that was both a very big asset and liability. As his dad’s favorite, he experienced more connection and favor with his dad which was a great asset! In contrast, being his dad’s favorite was a massive liability with his siblings who were more than a little jealous of his favored status.
Joseph also had an interesting ability with dreams. Initially, he didn’t use this divine gift with wisdom nor grace. In his early life, the dream thing for Joseph was a liability because he didn’t use discretion nor prudence in communicating his dreams with his family. Indeed, when Joseph told his brothers about one of his dreams, they became all the more enraged with him. Consider Genesis 37:8, “Then his brothers said to him, ‘Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?’ So, they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.”
From a more neutral experience, Joseph also interpreted the dreams of Pharoah’s chief baker and cupbearer when they were all in prison together in Egypt. When Joseph gave the cupbearer the interpretation of his dream, he asked the cupbearer to remember him and help him get out of prison. The cupbearer forgot about Joseph until he became aware of Pharoah’s dream, after some time.
In a positive way, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh about seven years or fruitful harvests followed by seven years of horrific famine. With this interpretation, Joseph was promoted to second in command in Egypt and eventually, he also gave his family from Canaan a place to live and survive the terrible famine that was plaguing the region.
Using Joseph as an example, it’s important to look at the things that are strengths in our lives, such that we could use these strengths to not only help us, but also to help others. Perhaps the reason that Joseph’s ability to have divine dreams was not constructive at the outset, because he was more self-focused. Indeed, it seems that the more focused he became to benefit others, the more his dream talent was beneficial and constructive.
Let’s be certain to think about our talents and assets to help others and not just for our personal benefit.