Read: Genesis 41, Matthew 13:1-32
I cannot do it. To most, these words are a signal of great weakness, but they can be the most empowering in the English language.
Having spent years in an Egyptian prison for a crime he did not commit, Joseph was called before Pharaoh because of his skill in interpreting dreams. When Pharaoh asks him to demonstrate his ability, Joseph immediately announces that he cannot.
Now, the man who had brought Joseph to Pharaoh’s attention knew what Joseph was capable of, having received an interpretation for his own dream. Imagine how he felt having vouched for the man who says, “I cannot.”
What would the outcome have been had Joseph taken credit for the ability God had given him as a boy? Would he have been able to tell Pharaoh what the dreams meant? Would the omission of the statement “I cannot” have changed the course of history?
What more could we accomplish with God on our side if we, like Joseph, would simply admit our shortcomings and allow God to work through us? How much more could God do on earth if we would only lay our egos aside?
Joseph’s humility landed him as second in command over an entire nation. Through him, not only Egypt was spared through famine, but many other peoples, including his own family were saved.
I cannot do it could very well be the most powerful phrase we could dare to utter because we have to set ourselves aside in order to do it. And, once we are out of the way, God has room to work.