Many years ago I received a magazine in the mail titled SUCCESS. I remember thumbing through the magazine and one article caught my attention, “How to Make More Money Than You Know What To Do With”. I mean who wouldn’t be interested in reading an article with this title? Unfortunately I didn’t gain any practical insights and I currently do not have more money than I know what to do with. I continued looking through the magazine and most of the articles equated success with money. It brought a question to mind, is success always about making money? Is success always connected with winning? Is success always associated with being “top dog”? Is success really about what you get? What is success? I did a Facebook poll a while back and asked my friends, “How would you define success?” Here are some of their answers…
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
 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.
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I currently live in Florida with my beautiful family. The Lord has blessed me with 20 years of full time ministry. He is and has been faithful. I am currently serving at a church as an Associate Director of Discipleship.