And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 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. Genesis 39:2-4
Recently on two separate occasions I have had discussions with individuals regarding how their desire to serve God surpassed their desire to work. In a nutshell, they felt that they couldn’t adequately serve God if they had a full time job or a demanding career. I wonder how many people think this way. The error in this kind of thinking is that it is better to have a paying job in some sort of ministry role (church/parachurch/etc.) or to live like a pauper, than to have a job in the secular marketplace and earn a good living. Implied in this thinking is the notion that working people are not as good of Christians because they spend more time working than they do in ministry or spending time with God in devotional activities.
The reality is, all people are not called to spend their workdays in formal ministry roles. We all have different God-give assignments in life. We are all made differently and given unique talents and callings so that we can reach the people God has put into our lives in this particular moment in history. The story of Joseph clearly shows how God might prosper someone in the marketplace. In Genesis 39:2-4 above we see that
- God prospered Joseph at his “job” in the Pharoah’s house.
- Joseph’s faith on display was a testimony to his Egyptian master.
- Joseph’s master gave him favor because of his testimony.
Joseph was doing exactly what God had called him to do by just doing an excellent job wherever he happened to be. God apparently didn’t think that Joseph belonged praying or overseeing temple sacrifices somewhere because God prospered Joseph on the “job”. This should be good news for most of us who may not be called into formal ministry work. We can still be good Christians after all. I believe the Bible tells us so. How can you be a better Christian right where you are today? Think about it. You just might be a modern day Joseph.
- A Gentle Answer