Saturday, April 10, 2010

Joseph's Work

By Mary Vee
Genesis 39:2-5

Joseph's jaw dropped as he followed the steward into Potifer's home. The ceilings reached far above his head, magnificent paintings covered many walls, costly drapes flowed across windows. His toes curled back into the sandal each time they touched the cold marble floors. Servants bustled back and forth carrying out their duties.

The steward slowed his pace. "Keep your head low when Potifer speaks to you. Obey any instruction, and be sure to keep any answer short. He doesn't want a friend, he wants a servant."

Joseph wiggled his shoulders. The Egyptian's slave clothing felt weird. They didn't wear tunics like he use to wear. He didn't like the way he looked.

The steward glanced at him. "Stop wiggling. You'll get use to our way of life or spend your future days in the prison." He gruffly laughed.

A few steps further the steward stopped at the doorway to a large hall. Three large rows of tables in the shape of a "U" took up space to the left. A man dressed in unusual clothing turned. He stood as one who had great power and wealth. "Is this the new slave?"

The steward bowed; Joseph copied the movements. "Yes, Potifer."

"Bring him forward."

The steward pushed Joseph guiding him toward the master of the house. Joseph stopped a few paced before Potifer. He lowered his head. Potifer came closer and inspected the new slave. "He has muscles, he appears healthy, and he has displayed proper respect." He waved his hand and turned away. "He will do. Put him to work."

Sparks of happiness pumped the next few beats in Joseph's heart. I was approved to work in this place. God has taken care of me, despite being sold as a slave by my brothers.

He followed the steward down the hall. The steward tapped a small whip on his leg. "Take care to do all you're told. If you behave, you'll find Potifer to be a kind master. If you make him unhappy, he'll throw you in prison."

Joseph nodded. The next few weeks Joseph found himself scrubbing floors, moving heaving things, and serving food. The steward came to him one night. "Potifer is pleased with you work. He wants you to work as my assistant."

Joseph didn't know whether his heart pounded for nervousness or excitement. Either way he followed the steward's every instruction. The work seemed easy. Joseph discovered new ways to do things. One night the steward met him in a hall. Joseph bowed and held his head low. "If I may, I'd like to show you some ideas. Quick, easy ways to do the work."

The steward folded his arms and squinted his eyes. "We've done the job this way ever since I've been in this house." He paused. "Still, perhaps new ideas would be good." The steward listen and watched Joseph demonstrate. "Well, now. I think this will work. Tomorrow, we'll do this job your way."

Each day new ideas popped into Joseph's head. The steward met with him each night. One morning the steward took Joseph to Potifer's room. Potifer signaled for Joseph to approach. The slave bowed before the master of the house. Potifer took a step closer. "I've noticed your work. You have proven a trustworthy and dedicated servant. My house has prospered since you have come. Clearly the Lord is with you. From this day forward you shall be overseer of my house. Everything will be under your authority."

Joseph felt like leaping into the air--but he didn't. He simply smiled as he kept his head lowered. God has blessed this house and even Potifer's fields. Truly God has taken care of me.

Have you noticed how your heart feels when you do a job someone asked you to do? Sometimes your heart beats wildly like it's laughing. Sometimes it whooshes like a loaded train car climbing a hill. What makes the difference? One day your heart laughs when you take out the trash, the next day it whooshes when you take out the trash...what happened? What is God showing you?

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