Wisdom for Work from Joseph’s Highs and Lows

by | Dec 14, 2023

Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him (Genesis 39:20-21a)

Joseph, the treasured son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his brothers and eventually wound up in Egypt working for Potiphar, an Egyptian official. And right from the start, Joseph proves to be exceptionally good at his job. Genesis 39:2-3 tells us that “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered…the Lord gave him success in everything he did.”

Seeing this, “Potiphar put [Joseph] in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned” (Genesis 39:4). But after refusing to go to bed with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph is wrongly accused of sexual harassment and thrown in prison.

In sum, Joseph goes from a state of helplessness as a slave, to a position of power in the palace, back to a place of great weakness as a prisoner. And yet, “there in the prison, the Lord was with him.”

So “the Lord was with Joseph” in the palace and “the Lord was with him” in the prison. He was with him on the mountaintop of his career and in the deepest valley.

If you’re in a season of flourishing at work—en route to the metaphorical mountaintop of your career—take a moment to recognize that it is only because the Lord is with you.

If that’s not you, and you feel stuck in a vocational valley due to injustice, a bad economy, or your own missteps, take heart: The Lord is also with you. And as long as you have him, you can say “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Why? Because it is God’s presence that you and I need most. And his presence is available to us whether we’re in the proverbial palace or prison of our careers.

I love how pastor A.J. Sherrill articulates this idea: “Every moment of every day, the most significant happening in the entire universe is the radical availability of God’s presence.”

Amen. With that in mind, embrace God’s radical presence as you work today. Don’t just work for God but with him. Talk to him. Be mindful of his presence. Experience his love. And let that experience of his love compel you to extend that love to those you serve through your work!

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Jordan Raynor

Jordan Raynor helps Christians respond to the radical, biblical truth that their work matters for eternity. He does this through his bestselling books, podcast, and weekly devotional—content that has served millions of Christ-followers in every country on earth. In addition to his writing, Jordan serves as the Executive Chairman of Threshold 360. A sixth-generation Floridian, Jordan lives in Tampa with his wife and their three young daughters.