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Rudy Ruettiger: Modern Day Joseph

Genesis 37: So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner. 2 This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing. 3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. 4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. 5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 6 “Listen to this dream,” he said. 7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”

If you have ever seen the movie Rudy, you can relate to the following blog and know where I am coming from in my presentation of this heartfelt story. In the movie it shows Rudy as a dreamer with big dreams. His dreams were scoffed at by family and friends, but his "best" friend" Pete never lost faith in Rudy. Rudy was a small built football player with a big heart and a very big dream to play football for Notre Dame University, his father's favorite football team. His father didn't understand how Rudy could have a dream like this and in their living room after dinner one night when he was a kid his brother asked Rudy what he was going to do when he grew up and Rudy said "I am going to play football for Notre Dame", to which the whole room erupted in laughter, but Rudy didn't laugh. His high school football coach didn't even consider taking him to the university with other seniors because the coach thought Rudy's playing days were over after High School. So Rudy succumbed to the wants of his family and long-time girlfriend and settled in to work at the local steel mill and his dream was put on hold. It was put on hold until his best friend Pete gave him a birthday present for his 22nd birthday and to Rudy's surprise that present was an old Notre Dame jersey Pete had bought at a garage sale. Rudy's heart was stirred once again since Pete believed in him so much and it kept Rudy believing in himself. Rudy told Pete that his dream might never come true to which Peter said "Well, you know what my dad always said, Having dreams is what makes life tolerable."

Not too much after that Pete was killed in an accident at the steel mill and Rudy decided "now or never" and left his job, his girlfriend, and his hometown with very little money he had saved up and headed to Notre Dame. The rest of the movie deals with just how hard it was for Rudy to make his dream a reality, but he did it. His brother Frank, who had wasted his talent in athletics but with no drive at all had been resentful toward Rudy trying to reach his dream, but when Rudy got on the field and made a big tackle in the last game even he had to say "you're the man."

When I think about Joseph and all he went through to see his dream come true I realize he had someone spurring him on to greatness as well. Joseph had God, who had given Him the dream, walking with him all along the way. God's plans for Joseph not only helped Joseph realize his dream, but also protected his family during a great drought and famine. If only Joseph's brothers had not been so jealous of him and spurred him on to greatness, the story would have been better for them. Here is a point to ponder: Non-dreamers are usually jealous of dreamers. Peter, Rudy's friend was a true friend and his belief in Rudy kept Rudy going.

If you are dreamer, then you need the kind of encouragement that Pete gave Rudy and God gave Joseph. If you are the one God has placed to be an encourager it is a very selfless, servant-minded position to be in and few can do it. Joseph's dream got him sold by his own family into slavery, but the end result was greatness. Rudy's dream got him ostracized by his family, but he became the only one from his family to play for Notre Dame.

Dreamers are few and far between and that is shown by Joseph being the only one of his family to have a dream like he did. But dreamers are important and they many times push ahead to a great thing that God has called them to do. So don't be a dream killer, but be a dream encourager and see what God can do through you to make you part of someone else's dream.

The Pilgrimage continues.....

David Warren

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