“Joseph found favor in [Potiphar’s] sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him, he had no concern about anything but the food he ate…And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed…Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.’ And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’” (Genesis 39:4-6, 22-23; 42:39-41)
Joseph’s story starts in Genesis 37, when he was seventeen years old, and ends in Genesis 50, with his death, when he was one-hundred-and-ten years old. While Joseph was not to be the chosen seed for the Messiah from the tribes of Jacob, the Lord used Joseph’s leadership and faithfulness to move the patriarchal family to Egypt as the seed for the nation of Israel (Exodus 1). There are two ways to study Joseph’s life and leadership. We can either look for the grace and providence of God who moved him to and in Egypt to become prime minister, saving his family from the famine, along with the Egyptians. Or we can look at Joseph’s character, faithfulness, obedience, and submission to God as his child and servant. I propose that we do both, although here we will concentrate on Joseph, the man, called and used by God in Egypt as a submissive and impassioned son of Jacob and steward of God’s providence.
Joseph was a steward in every sense of the word. He was chosen and empowered by God for the interpretation of dreams, which had an essential role in his day. As God’s child, Joseph was called to a particular role in history that involved great suffering and humiliation as well as exceptional exaltation in a foreign country. Joseph’s wholehearted stewardship was displayed in the home, prison, and government that opposed Israel’s founding and growth. But the most crucial aspect of Joseph’s stewardship is found in everyone’s recognition that the Lord was with him.
Whether we are male or female, young or old, in our home country or foreign land, our relationship with Jesus Christ is the source of our passion, power, and successfulness as stewards. It does not matter whether we are serving our enemies or Christian brothers and sisters if we are truly being used by God in our appointed role in his-story. We are called to be faithful and obedient, leaving the results and outcomes to the Lord.
In what role do you find yourself at home, work, church, or in your community and government? Are you embracing and passionately serving God by excelling in your role? What hinders you from being the wisest, most impassioned steward of God’s providence?