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.