An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” —Matthew 1:20 NIV

It’s easy to overlook people who, by choice or assignment, stay in the background even as they commit amazing acts of faith. Consider Joseph the carpenter, whose wedding plans changed with the angel’s announcement. “Faithful to the law,” Joseph “did not want to expose her to public disgrace,” so he planned to privately divorce his suddenly pregnant fiancée (Matthew 1:19 NIV).

In Joseph’s day, a betrothed woman who was pregnant could be married, divorced, or stoned to death. The decision was Joseph’s. Consider this man, who could lose his standing in the Jewish community and who may have been overwhelmed by hurt, disappointment, anger, disbelief, sadness, and embarrassment. But God sent an angel who commanded Joseph to “take Mary home as your wife.” We can only imagine Joseph’s anguish.

Whatever his human concerns and whatever this decision would cost him, he married the beloved young woman whose tale mystified him. Let’s be thankful today and notice role models like Joseph, who obey God and serve Him at great cost and without fanfare or concern for self.

Thank You, Lord, for people like Joseph who serve quietly without demanding acknowledgment.

Zondervan. 2018. 365 Devotions for a Thankful Heart. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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