- Success is knowing that I have made a positive impact on someone else’s life.
- Being happy and satisfied
- Success is finding your passion, and being able work within that passion.
- Getting to a place in life where you have created something you are proud of and happy in that place. EVEN MORE, not caring what anyone else thinks about what you define as your success! I think it is hard to not judge your success by what others tell you, but when you can disregard and go with your passion that is where real success is.
- “Raise your kids in an atmosphere of grace, based upon the foundation of a relationship with Jesus Christ; concentrate on building character instead of molding behavior; and aim your kids toward true greatness instead of the world’s shallow lure of success.” Dr. Tim Kimmel
- Not at all concerned with what the world labels a success - am only paying close attention to God's definition. "What does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut 10:12 Lord, help me and enable me.
- My greatest revelation was in understanding that God is sovereign. Living in the grace of this knowledge is success.
- Success for me would be having the Lord place his hand on my shoulder and say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."... Granted, that would not be until I die, but chronological death shouldn't matter when it comes to a goal. (IMHO)
We will look today at the success of Joseph. Does he have special secrets to his success (that are not so secretive)? I firmly believe we can learn and benefit from these 6 passages as we look at the success story of Joseph.
Vs 1: Joseph is in Egypt. Back in chapter 37 Joseph was sold to a group of Ishamaelites. They sold him to an Egyptian named Potipher. Potipher was the captain of the guard. This meant he was put in charge of all the royal prisons. Some have even suggested his job was to be the chief executioner. Whatever his specific duties were we know him as a wealthy man who was influential and powerful. By today’s worldly standards he would be considered a successful man.
Vs 2: Joseph was initially bought as a slave. We are told though that “The Lord was with Joseph” – God had his hand on his life. He was a man who followed and trusted God. Remember Genesis continually reminds us of the promise God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; that he would be with them and this promise is carrying through to Joseph. We are told this so we know up front that God was with him so in preparation for when things so when things start going bad for Joseph again we will be reminded that God was with him even in the hard times.
“He was successful” – He was a prosperous man. This doesn’t mean that he was wealthy. It is suggested that his success from the fact that God blessed him and he had a kind of “magic touch. He was one of those guys who was good at everything he did. The author attributes his success to the fact that God was with him. God had blessed him greatly. Joseph’s success was not merely a reflection on his ability but on the fact that the Lord was with him, and that through him Potiphar enjoyed God’s blessing.
Vs 3: Joseph wore his faith on his sleeve. His walk with God was apparent to everyone. Potipher observed that God was with him. His relationship with God was something that people noticed about him. He was also a man who gave God his due credit. Joseph was a successful man but he was vocal in sharing where his success came from. Potipher observed that the reason Joseph was successful was because the LORD was with Him. This gives us a glimpse of Joseph’s character. He was a humble man who knew where his success came from.
Vs 4: Potipher observed his success and appointed Joseph to overseer of the house. Joseph was promoted early on. He went from being a slave in the field to being an overseer of Potipher’s house. Granted Joseph was still a slave at this point but Potipher trusted Joseph so much that he became Potipher’s personal assistant; he was now the household steward. He was in charge of not only the house but the whole estate and the surrounding property.
Vs 5: Because God was with Joseph and Potipher appointed Joseph to his personal assistant God blessed the whole household. God’s hand had been on Joseph and as a result he became a blessing to Potiphers whole household.
Vs 6: Potipher trusted Joseph exclusively. He trusted him so much that the text implies that he gave everything over to Joseph’s care. He wasn’t the least bit concerned or worried that Joseph would take advantage of him, rip him off or abuse his trust. He was convinced that Joseph was doing the best for him. Joseph was able to take care of the matters of Potipher’s home so he wouldn’t have to watch Joseph’s every move. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that nobody could care for his things better than Joseph.
“The food he ate” – Probably refers to Potipher’s private affairs. Everything was entrusted to Joseph but not EVERYTHING. Not everything belonged to Joseph… and Joseph respected his private affairs.
In these modern days we, like Joseph desire to be successful in all we do. Nobody wants to be known as a failure. As I mentioned earlier there is no clear cut definition of success. One’s person’s success could be another person’s failure or vice versa. However as a Christian man I do determine my success on a different set of values that the world. Yes, I would love to have more money than I know what to do with. Yes, I would love to have a packed congregation… standing room only. Yes, I would love to give my family everything they wanted. I don’t have this… does it make me a failure? Not at all! Why? Here are some reasons
- Success is not always defined by my circumstances or surroundings. Joseph was not in the best of situations. Let us not forget Joseph is a slave. Just weeks prior he was a free man living in the comfort of his own home with a special coat giving to him by a father who dearly loved him. Now he is in a foreign country serving a foreign leader who purchased him from a band of Ishmaelites who bought him from his brothers who betrayed him. If success is based on circumstances and happiness then Joseph would have been a failure. It is safe to assume Joseph wasn’t overjoyed by his surroundings. Many would say that Joseph was a failure. A true successful person (according to the world) is someone who has riches, power, and influence, but it is here we see Joseph is a slave in house. Yet, Genesis tells us he was successful. Regardless of his circumstances and situation Joseph was successful. His success wasn’t dependent on his situation, if it was he could have easily been depressed, “bummed out”. His success was rooted in his dependency on God.
The same goes for me today. Just because I may not be in a place financially or professionally I want to be does not mean I am not successful. Sometimes God allows me to be in vulnerable places so his power and glory can be made known in my life. The success God has given me in my life may not match up with my perception of success is.
- Success is a life committed to God. At the core of it all this is success. Joseph was successful because God was with him. He knew God would use him in his own way. God blessed Joseph. This second truth ties in directly with the first truth. Regardless of our situations or circumstances if you are pursuing God and living your life for him you are successful. Proverbs 3: 5 – 7, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Success does not come in a full bank account and professional satisfaction it is in a life committed to God. What comes after is all icing on the cake.
- Success is having Integrity. Joseph (as we will see next week) was a man of integrity. He was trustworthy. He was loyal. He had moral compass to guide him. Since he was a man committed to God he had integrity. He knew where his success came from and he determined to be an upright man. I think we all know personally or know of people who are very wealthy, ‘Successful” professionally and doing well by the world’s standards but have little to no integrity. Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
 New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (86). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.