Grind And Glory
“I love God because he listened to me” (Psa. 116:1, The Message). Lord, I want to listen to and obey Your voice today.
Read GENESIS 39
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“When we cannot do the good we wish to do, we must be ready to do the good we can” (John Wesley, 1703–1791). Wise words from the founder of Methodism, and exemplified in the life of Joseph.
“What do you think went well this year? What would you do differently? What are your goals for next year?” Performance reviews are rarely anyone’s idea of fun, but they are an inescapable feature of working life. An annual appraisal badly done can be a paper exercise with grumbling and accusation thrown in. Best practice invites thoughtful reflection and possible redirection and support.
Potiphar’s employee evaluation of Joseph could not be more complimentary. Joseph’s promotion through the household’s ranks to the very top demonstrates the trust Potiphar has in him and his outstanding abilities. Later this is mirrored in the jailer’s verdict and confidence as he allocates him weighty management duties. Who would have thought that a young foreign slave could have turned out to be so brilliant? We who know Joseph’s background might add: what happened to the work-shy, immature brat on that journey from his brothers’ treacherous hands to the tough Egyptian job market?
In the challenges and chances of our everyday occupations, Joseph can encourage us. We would not blame him for being resentful and bitter about his circumstances, but what comes across is a commitment and faithfulness to the tasks assigned to him, however unfair and mundane they may be. We note a willingness to assume responsibility and grow into a more demanding job. We witness in his dealings with Potiphar’s wife a costly refusal to compromise morally or take advantage of his natural charisma. When dismissal and disgrace are the price he pays for integrity, he starts again from scratch in a prison dungeon. What is Joseph’s secret? The Lord is with him (2,3,5,21,23). God’s blessing, in the midst of loneliness and drudgery, toil and testing, makes all the difference.
What does godly success look like in your place of work? What might be God’s performance verdict on the way you spend your time? Ask for his presence and blessing.
Heavenly Father, I need a fresh perspective on my work. I know my life consists of more than earning and eating, making and selling. But when I work, I want Your glory to shine through my endeavors.