50/20 Principle by Rev. Tim Purcell, District Superintendent
Iowa Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church
Wow! What a year 2020 has been! As if dealing with the challenges and uncertainties of COVID-19 for the past 6 months wasn’t enough, many of you reading these words have had your lives upended by the derecho storm that cut a massive swath through Iowa on August 10. The fact is that dealing with the challenges of 2020 is taking a toll on us. Some of you probably feel like the circus performer who posted an ad in the paper reading, “Lion tamer seeking tamer lion.”
Recently, as I wrestled with the temptation to succumb to discouragement, I recalled something that Chuck Swindoll called, “The 50/20 principle,” so named because it flows out of Genesis, 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Years earlier Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery and, after a long, challenging journey with lots of detours, Joseph ended up as second in command over the entire nation of Egypt where he was positioned to save untold numbers of people from starvation during a 7-year famine. When Joseph’s brothers feared that, at long last he was going to seek revenge for what they had done to him years earlier. He reassured them that their sovereign God had it all well in hand the entire time.
The 50/20 principle is simply this: “In his sovereignty, God gets good results from bad circumstances.” No one would ever say that a pandemic or a destructive storm is good, but our sovereign God will use it for good if we let him.
Having said that, however, there are three really important factors in the 50/20 principles that we need to remember:
- God sees the big picture and we don’t. There were many times that Joseph could have thrown himself a
pity party because of how unfair life was for him, but God saw the big picture when Joseph didn’t.
- God’s timetable is usually different than ours. Joseph was 17 years-old when he was sold into slaveryand was 30 when he finally was promoted to second-in-command. Think COVID is lasting forever? Try waiting 13 years for God to move…
- God is in control of the final outcome. There may be ups and downs along the way, but our sovereign God will work out his will and purposes in the end.
So stay strong, my friends. Minister and serve faithfully, never forgetting that God specializes in getting good results from bad circumstances.