The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the LORD was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. - Genesis 39:2-3
Joseph’s early life could be described as, “From the pedestal to the pit to the penthouse to the prison.” Talk about a roller-coaster ride! After being sold into slavery by his brothers, he arrived in the household of a man of influence. Instead of bemoaning his fate, Joseph set to work utilizing the obvious gifts God had entrusted to him. The result was recognition and advancement. Unfortunately, the recognition factor worked in more than one direction. The boss’s wife noticed Joseph and made advances to him, which Joseph rebuffed rather than dishonor his master and sin against his God. As we know, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” so Joseph ended up in prison, guilty of being honorable. But even there he conducted himself with great integrity and industry. Very soon Joseph was not only running the prison, he was also counseling some of Pharaoh’s out-of-favor men.
There are a number of principles of success to be learned from Joseph’s success story. First of all, as he languished in prison he embraced the moment. Second, he never allowed the vision of success to cloud his vision of what was ethically right. Third, he adapted himself to his changing situations rather than exerting his energies in fighting them. Fourth, he saw in every problem a possibility. Fifth, he knew how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Sixth, he knew there was no substitute for hard work. And seventh, long before Paul told the slaves of his day, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Col. 3:23), Joseph did it.
All of Joseph’s “secrets of success” were rooted in his relationship to the Lord. It was the Lord who was with him in the pit, and it was the Lord who was the source of all his gifts. It was the Lord who said what was right, it was the Lord who was working out his eternal purposes, and it was the Lord to whom Joseph would one day give an account. When life is lived with God as the Lord, the location is of secondary importance—whether it be the pedestal or the pit, the prison or the penthouse. What really matters is that life is lived in and through, and before and because of, the Lord. That is the way to success. For it takes the Lord to make a man successful, wherever he may be.
For Further Study: Genesis 39:1-23
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