Whenever we talk about Characteristics of a Leader, we talk about John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren and many other promising leaders in our time. But even more than that, the Bible speaks to us so many things about leadership. And the story of Joseph is just one of them. I hope this one will not only be true to leaders, but for the called people of God.
Whatever he does prosper – Joseph became a servant of Potiphar and he served faithfully. Whatever he does prosper that Potiphar saw that God was with him. With this, Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything in his household except for his wife that what Potiphar will just need to do is to eat and drink.
There are people who can do things and prosper in that particular field. But when they started to do something else, that’s where their problems begin. However, it is different if someone can be successful in “everything” he does. It is very rare to find that kind of person. He was a slave, yet he prospered to be someone else in the house of Potiphar, an army’s commander.
After serving Potiphar, he was thrown into prison and the same thing happened, he was put in charge of other prisoners because everything he does prosper. God indeed was with him no matter what happened to him, God did not leave him alone. Yes, there was injustice that was done to him, but that’s part of God’s plan for him.
Trustworthy man – It is not just about having a prosperous career, but Joseph is a trustworthy man. If you are the boss, you will not be putting someone in charge of your household that you do not trust. You will not put someone in charge of nearly everything in your house. Joseph however is different, he can be trusted and he is faithful to his master.
There are lots of people that are in trouble because they are not trustworthy people. They tend to abuse their masters when they think they have found favour in the eyes of his master. Joseph however is totally different. Whether his master is present or not, he faithfully serves his master.
He is someone who does not only work for his master, but someone who works for the Lord as well. And it is the Lord who is the main reason why he can work with dedication.
Keeps his eyes on righteousness – His eyes is focused on righteousness even if temptations exists. For him, righteousness is worth living for. He strives hard to maintain righteous living. Saying “righteousness” is way far too easy than “living it”. For Joseph, righteousness is a lifestyle.
He makes sure that he is beyond reproach. We can notice that in everything Joseph does, he makes sure that it is beyond reproach despite the presence of temptation. For him, the trust of his master is far more important than his pleasures. He could have escaped from being a servant, but Joseph is someone who always believes that righteousness accompanied by obedience is a virtue.
He makes sure that his motive is right. There are lots of ways where Joseph can make benefit for himself because he is wise, but what we can see here is a person whose convictions on righteousness is unparalleled with any other man in his time. He remained to have a good motive in everything.
There are people that when their master gave them authority over their business or their household, the temptation to have his own motives becomes stronger. And this is something that we do not want to happen especially when you have trusted someone with all your heart.
Can say “No” to temptation. Saying No to temptation is different from running away from it and we will discuss the latter in a bit. When there is temptation, how do we respond to it? Do we think twice in saying “no” or we welcome temptation with both arms opened?
One of the hardest things to do is to say no to temptation especially if it’s already in front of you. Here we see Joseph being tempted by Potiphar’s wife. Take note here that it is not Joseph who has interest to her, but it is her has interest to Joseph. Yet we see that every day, Joseph says no to Potiphar’s wife because he knows this is wickedness. He knows that his master will not be pleased with it.
Joseph is maybe one of the few people who can say no to temptation. 2 Tim. 1:7 says: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” In some version it uses “self-control” instead of self-discipline. In another version it uses the phrase “sound mind”, while in another translation it uses “sound judgment”.
Here’s the thing, whenever we face temptation we immediately losses “self-discipline” or self-control which affects the power and love that were also given by God.
Can run away from temptation. When you can say no to temptation for the moment, what then shall we do when temptation is right in front our nose? Joseph’s secret on saying no is actually running away from temptation. He does not face temptation face to face, instead he turns his back and run away from it. In our passage, the temptation did not only happen once, but many times over yet we can see that Joseph turns his back from the temptation.
One day he was caught off guard leaving behind his garment which was used against him. Yet we can see that Joseph remained focus and he knows that such things are not true. Yes he went into prison and was punished for a crime that he never did. But even if he is in prison, we can see that it was only a transfer of his work from Potiphar’s household into prison.
2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Continuously do good despite the wrong things done to him. What would you do if someone did you wrong, or worst people did you terrible things? Would you still desire to do good? There are people that I have met that when someone did wrong to them, they will in turn hurt those who hurt them or hurt someone else instead. And it is very true that we are ourselves can fall in the same temptation.
It is hard to do good especially to people who did wrong to you. But in our passage we can see Joseph just submitted himself to the authorities and he continue doing the right things.
There are times when everybody seems to be against us. There are times that the people we love will turn their backs from us but it should not be a reason for us to turn our backs from righteousness.
1 Peter 3:9 – Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Romans 12:17 – Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
Joseph when he saw his brothers in chapter 41-42, he did not do any harm to them. Yes he played a little bit with them so that he will be able to see his younger brother Benjamin, but Joseph expressed his love to his brothers and even prepared a place for the whole family to take care of them because of the great famine
This lesson was taken from Genesis 39