He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:3
Joseph’s life was one filled with wrongful accusations and betrayals. He was betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused by his master’s wife, thrown into prison and left to languish there for years. Yet when Joseph surveyed his circumstances, he was able to proclaim with boldness that what others meant for evil, God had used for good:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children (Genesis 50:20-21).
This can be as true for us in our lives and careers as it was for Joseph. As a young man, Joseph did not yet have the character to sustain the destiny that God had revealed to him through his dreams. But the history of God’s remedy for Joseph’s character gap surfaces a key principle: Prosperity and promotion in his life and career came through a constant decision to trust God and serve those around him in humility.
God has to take us through circumstances that will wean us off of acting in the flesh so that He can move us to act out of His Spirit. God uses our careers to test where our identities and trust are really rooted. We should thus embrace those difficult coworkers or situations that God places in our life as His crucible for character growth so that He can position us for His abundance.
I once managed a project with a team member who was one of the most difficult individuals with whom I have ever worked. I decided to obey the words of 1 Peter 3:8-9, which states:
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
I served this individual and prayed for God’s blessing on him and, as it turned out, God used the situation to open the door for a whole new chapter in my career. If you walk in love, God will turn your circumstances around.
Despite the betrayal and backstabbing that Joseph endured, the Lord was always with Joseph, and he prospered. God had promised greatness for Joseph, yet even though he found himself working for a prison guard and condemned with a baker and a cupbearer, he chose to serve those around him. This provided the window for God to turn around his situation.
In the end, Joseph was released from prison for interpreting the pharaoh’s dreams. At the age of 30, he was put in charge of the whole land of Egypt and was second only to the pharaoh. By this time, Joseph had the character to leverage the information that God had revealed through Pharaoh’s dream.
God gave Joseph wisdom on the future trends in the grain markets that allowed him to both prosper and later save the country. In essence, he was the first grain futures trader. Ultimately, there would be enough food to feed his family when they arrived and, in particular, his brother Judah, who was carrying the line of Christ.
This Joseph Principle can work for each of us: Choose to serve and God will open the door and turn evil circumstances to good in your life and career.
Point to Ponder
Trusting God completely and serving others in any situation will open the door for God to bless us with new opportunities.
Questions to Consider
1. Do you feel that your skills and gifts do not fit with your present work situation?
2. What is a simple way for you to live out God’s will in your career based on the example of Joseph’s life?
3. Does your character line up with your skills? Do you believe that God can prosper you in every situation as He did in Joseph’s life?
This article was originally published on the Crosswalk Careers channel in October 2007.
Photo credit: Arthur Reginald.