Tag Archives: joseph

Scriptural Steps to Secular Success – Part 2

Read Part 1

Title Is Earned

Genesis 39:4-5 “And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.  And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.”

God Rewards Faithfulness, As Do Bosses

The Christian life is a call to faithfulness.  In the secular world, consistent productivity is noticed.  While some members of management may seem to “have it out for Christians,” today’s economic climate dictates that they not only notice but reward productivity.  When your testimony improves, opportunities will present themselves.  As Joseph found grace (or favor) in Potiphar’s sight, he continued to serve.  That is exactly what you must continue to do.  Beware!  There is a tendency to get comfortable, to relax, to become lazy. Put simply, be faithful!  Remember, the honor of Jesus Christ is at stake every day of your life!

Temptation Often Comes Before and After Success

I’ve never worked to obtain a title.  But I will be the first to admit that I enjoy recognition and affirmation.  Just like Joseph, I have been made an “overseer” of some sort at almost every job.  However, I never compromised to obtain it.  The temptation was there.  They threw out the infamous, “Well, we really are going to need you to work Sunday morning.”  I always respectfully said no, and God never went back on His word.  He blessed my faithfulness just like he blessed Joseph’s – and just like He will bless yours.  As we see in verses 7-12 of Genesis 39, temptation came to Joseph – and it came at some point following becoming the overseer of Potiphar’s house.  But, I am confident that temptation and opportunities to compromise had presented themselves much earlier as well.  Maybe Joseph was asked to participate in some pagan ritual or eat food offered to false gods.  Maybe he was mocked for his belief in only one God, rather than the Egyptians’ many gods.  Had Joseph compromised, his success would have been “his” and not “His” (i.e., the Lord’s)!

Trust Is Exhibited

Genesis 39:6 “And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat.  And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”

A Title Is NOT Synonymous with Trust

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute!  You earn trust before you get a title.”  That is not what we see in this passage.  Joseph is made “overseer” but only of Potiphar’s house and what Potiphar put into his hand.  Later, in verse 6, we see that Potiphar leaves “all that he had” in Joseph’s hand.  My experience has been that managers often do not trust other managers; as a matter of fact, managers will often trust their employees more than other managers.  Stated differently, you can have a title without having trust.

Trust Is Superior to a Title

Trust is more difficult to earn than a title and much easier to lose.  If you lose your temper, stretch the truth, or fudge the numbers – even once – you can lose or diminish the trust you have built over many months or years.  But each time you “do the right thing” you increase the trust.  If a co-worker told your boss that you swore at them or mishandled money, would they question you or summarily dismiss this as “something I know he/she would never do”?  I have had co-workers defend me to my boss, not because I was a supervisor, but because of trust.  As a Christian attorney, if I had to choose, I would much rather be a trusted associate than a distrusted partner.  However, following simple, Biblical principles and trusting God to reward as He has promised means that you will rarely have to choose!

No matter what your occupation or geographic location or the level of your compensation, you can be successful in the secular world.  Over time, look for ways to display Christian qualities in your work.  Make your testimony a priority, higher than friendship or recognition.  Faithfully work and look for opportunities to serve your boss; they will result in your boss giving you a place of leadership.  And, most importantly, build and guard the trust that you earn.

If the life of Joseph teaches use one thing, it is this: Doing right is not always easy, but it is always right.  And, right is ALWAYS blessed by God.  

Read Part 1

Article by Bryan Likins



Scriptural Steps to Secular Success – Part 1

For those of us not in the ministry, work is the place we spend the largest amount of time each week.  It therefore presents a great opportunity to display Biblical Christianity.  Nowhere in Scripture is the life of a Christian in the world better exemplified than Genesis 39.  In this portion of Scripture we find Joseph, who had been sold by his brothers into slavery, serving in Potiphar’s house.  If we fast-forward to Genesis 41, we find this very same man is now the second in command in Egypt, wearing the Pharaoh’s ring, married to the Pharaoh’s daughter! His “success story” was no accident; it was not the product of luck.  I believe the first six verses of Genesis 39 are a microcosm of Joseph’s life and hold the key to Joseph’s success.

While many books could be written about Joseph’s life, I believe a few important “steps” were the key to his success while working in the world.  These steps are something from which every Christian can learn.

Time Elapses

Genesis 39:1-2 “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.  And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

 Don’t Hide Your Light

I’m going to start, rather than end, with the disclaimer.  I am not advocating being a “closet Christian” or hiding your light under a bushel – not even for a day.  However, experience has taught me that our Christian witness is often much more effective and powerful when exhibited over a period of time.  People can question “religious” words, but they find it much more difficult to discredit true Christian living.  Joseph was purchased by Potiphar.  For some period of time, Joseph was “in the house of his master.”  It was during this time that Joseph continued to live his life for God, just as if he were still at home.

Be an Exemplary Employee

The first step to secular success is to live your Christianity every single day at work.  Be the best employee in every way possible.  Show up on time.  Work hard.  Be absolutely honest.  If you are wronged by someone, turn the other cheek.  Don’t aim to be popular, aim to be profitable.  Every boss I have ever had has taken notice of employees that excel.  Remember to do your work “to the glory of God.”

Look for opportunities to talk about the Lord and church.  Don’t tell people you can’t come to the barbeque on Sunday “because you’re busy.”  Tell them you will be at church.  Love your fellow employees.  When you see or hear they have a heartache, ask them about it, tell them you will pray for them, and actually pray for them.  Follow-up telling them that you’ve prayed and asking how the situation turned out.  Over time, your co-workers and bosses will not only know something is different, they will know what is different.

Testimony Is Elevated

Genesis 39:3 “And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.”

You Are on the Stand

The secular world calls it “reputation.”  Most Christians refer to it as “testimony.”  I much prefer the latter.  Think about the word.  The definition includes: 1) affirmation, declaration; 2) open attestation, profession; 3) witness, evidence, proof of some fact.  For a Christian, each day presents an opportunity to help or hurt the cause of Christ – to build the case for Christianity.  To put this differently, and in paraphrase of a devotion written by Oswald Chambers, the honor of Jesus Christ is at stake every day of your life.  If you profess the name of Christ at your workplace, people will start collecting evidence; they may even interrogate you.

You Are NOT Testifying on Your Own Behalf

We often forget the purpose of our life.  What do you see as the end goal of your secular work?  It is not to obtain a comfortable life.  Though important, it is not ultimately about providing for your family.  The purpose for everything you do in life should be to bring glory to God.  Imagine that you were on the stand testifying on behalf of a loved one who was accused of a serious felony, who was believed by many to be guilty, who you knew to be innocent.  How careful would you be with your words?  How careful would you be with your life the days before and after testifying if you knew the “accusers” were watching your every move to discredit your testimony?  If we were all this careful when it came to our testimony on behalf of Christ, the world would have a much different view of us and Him.

You ARE in Control of Your Testimony

Nowhere is our Christian testimony more “on trial” than in the workplace.  But just like a witness on the stand, you are completely in control of the testimony you put forth, and you must tell the truth.  You’ve heard the euphemisms – “A testimony takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy.”  It’s true!  If you live your life every day to please Christ, you might not be the most popular person with your co-workers, but you will gain their respect.  They will “see that the Lord is with you.”  And, I can tell you from experience, your boss will also be pleased.  Your testimony, influence, and opportunities will continue to expand.

Article by Bryan Likins



How Did Joseph Do It?

As an attorney, my mind has been “trained” to work a certain way.  I will be given a series of cases and be tasked with discerning what overarching legal principle ties them together.  When reading Scripture, I often find myself reading several chapters and attempting to decipher what single truth can be used to explain the passage.

The Burning Question

Do you ever read a passage of the Bible and think to yourself, “How did [insert Bible character name] do it?  What is the one truth I can learn from this person?”  These thoughts enter into my mind regularly.  How did Abram have the faith to leave his homeland and kindred?  How did Moses have the patience and love to plead with the Lord on behalf of the children of Israel when he came off Mount Sinai to find them worshipping the golden calf?  How did Noah work diligently for years when he seemed to be the only one serving God?*  And we are just getting started in the book of Genesis!

For me, the most pressing of these “how did they . . .” questions is this: How did Joseph stay faithful to his God in the midst of the constant trials, in a foreign land, and in spite of family betrayal?  You might think there are several answers to this question, and there might be, but, I believe there is one Bible truth that explains it all – surviving the betrayal, the false accusation of sexual impropriety, the wrongful imprisonment, the failure of a “friend” to keep his promise.  I know men who have endured one or two of these attacks.  However, I don’t know anyone who has endured them all – and I cannot imagine enduring them myself.

What Joseph Did NOT Have

Consider for a moment what Joseph did not have.  He did not have his family to rely on.  There was no older brother to call and no parent from whom to seek wisdom.  In fact, his family members were the root cause of the entirety of his trials.  Joseph also did not have a synagogue to attend, nor did he have a pastor or priest to guide him.  Also, and very importantly, he did not have a copy of the Word of God.  We must remember that the Pentateuch was penned by Moses well after Joseph’s death.

What Joseph DID Have

When I look at the testimony Joseph maintained (see Genesis 39:3, 40:8, 41:16), I conclude that the only way Joseph could have maintained his integrity throughout is because he had an intimate, personal walk with God!  This thought is challenging.  If I was separated from my family, if I had no church to attend and no pastor to counsel with, if I did not even have a copy of the Word of God, how good of a Christian would I be?  Imagine that your spiritual health was fully reliant upon nothing other than your time alone with God.  Could you “survive”?

I plan to post additional articles that analyze the life of Joseph.  But, I do not believe any of them will be more important than this one.  Grab this spiritual truth and do not let it go…

in the Christian life, a personal, intimate walk with God is paramount
and the key to surviving anything that Satan can throw at you.

*Many people (mis)read Genesis 6:3 and think it took 120 years for Noah to build the ark.  Many Bible scholars believe it did not take nearly that long.

Article by Bryan Likins