February 18, 2008
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Genesis 46:31-34
Joseph efficiently thought through a plan of operation that would get his family settled. He rehearsed the plan with those who were involved and then, as we will see in a moment, presented the plans to his boss for final approval. Joseph never assumed that he could just go ahead with his plans, despite his high level of authority and responsibility. He always deferred to his employer.
One complaint that I often hear leveled against Christian employees who work for Christian employers is presumption---the expectation of special treatment because they're members of the same spiritual family. They expect certain privileges, higher salaries, or vacation perks or other benefits, not because they have earned or deserve them, but simply because they serve the same Lord. We see no such spirit of entitlement happening with Joseph.
Joseph knew how the Egyptians thought and reacted. He had not only worked with Pharaoh but had thoroughly studied and observed the man and his people. That explains why he warned his brothers, "Look, shepherds are loathsome to these people. You're not in Canaan anymore, you're in Egypt. And when you're in Egypt, you have to think like an Egyptian. So I want you to tell Pharaoh that you are keepers of livestock." This was the truth. He wasn't asking them to lie, but to avoid using a word or concept---shepherd---that was repugnant to Pharaoh and his people.
Joseph settled his family in the choicest part of the land of Egypt, in an area located in the fertile Nile Delta, as Pharaoh had ordered him to do.
Do you serve under someone else's authority? Obviously, most of us do. How's your spirit, your attitude, toward that person to whom you answer? Having the right attitude or spirit of cooperation can be especially tough if the person to whom you answer is a difficult individual or an incompetent leader, one whose weaknesses you know all too well. This is not only a test of your personal loyalty, but a test of your emotional maturity.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.