January 9, 2008
TEMPTATIONS OF PROSPERITY
by Charles R. Swindoll
The sovereign God of Israel was intimately involved in Joseph's life. He guided him. He gave him facility in the Egyptian language. On top of all that, he gave him favor in the eyes of Potiphar. Clearly, God was the secret of Joseph's success. Luck had nothing to do with it.
Joseph didn't have to tell Potiphar that the Lord was with him; Potiphar could see it for himself. "Now his master saw that the LORD was with him" (v. 3). Furthermore, Joseph didn't use his spirituality as a manipulative tool to get benefits from his boss. Simply because the Lord caused all that Joseph did to prosper, Joseph found favor in his sight. Notice, it doesn't say that Joseph asked favors from Potiphar; he found favor with Potiphar.
With greater success comes greater measures of trust, which, by the way, lead to greater times of unguarded vulnerability. Regarding the latter, F. B. Meyer writes insightfully:
We may expect temptation in the days of prosperity and ease rather than in those of privation and toil. Not on the glacier slopes of the Alps, but in the sunny plains of the Campagna; not when the youth is climbing arduously the steep ladder of fame, but when he has entered the golden portals; not where men frown, but where they smile sweet exquisite smiles of flattery---it is there, it is there, that the temptress lies in wait! Beware!
What a wise exhortation! This warning is not of concern to the person who is down and out. Its message is addressed to the successful, to the up-and-coming executive, to the man or woman on the way to the top of the heap, to the individual who is experiencing the benefits and favor of God, who is reaping the benefits of increased privacy and trust. Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist, was right when he said, "Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man, but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity." The temptations that accompany prosperity are far greater (and far more subtle) than those that accompany adversity.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.