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An Invitation to Dinner An Invitation to Dinner

An Invitation to Dinner

Leadership trainer Crane Stookey warns that some narcissists or manipulators use generosity as a cover for their control tactics. What looks like a thoughtful gift or extravagant bequest may actually come with many strings that bind the recipient.

The first time Joseph’s brothers were in Egypt, they were treated harshly, falsely accused, and thrown in prison. During their second visit, the generosity they received put them even more on edge.

When Joseph saw that Benjamin was with the group, he invited the brothers to his house for a feast. This unusual act of hospitality elicited a sense of panic in the group (v. 18). They worried that they will be accused of theft, went out of their way to explain to Joseph’s steward what had happened, and offered to return the money. The steward wondered whether their God put the silver back in their sacks. As readers, we know that this money was placed there by Joseph; but the steward’s response nods toward an important truth: God sovereignly works through human agents.

Despite his emotion, Joseph calculated every move—his gracious reception, arrangement of the seats, and most importantly, the treatment of Benjamin. By providing his younger brother with five times more food, he attempted to elicit the jealousy of the others. Once the brothers were all sated with wine, the final test could begin.

Though Joseph was testing his brothers, his generosity was not the ploy of a manipulator or narcissist. His goal in wining and dining them was not to draw them under obligation to him. Rather, he needed to ascertain whether reconciliation was possible with his family—a true restoration to a loving relationship. He longed to regain his Hebrew place.

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Please pray for Daniel Schombert in Telecommunications, as he ensures good phone connections for everyone at Moody. We appreciate his capable management of the phone systems, both in everyday operations and special events.

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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