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Joseph’s Time in Prison Teaches Us to not Rush for Success in Workplace

Joseph’s Time in Prison Teaches Us to not Rush for Success in Workplace

Joseph was sold to Egypt. Joseph was sold to Egypt. (Provided by Abigail Wu)
ByAbigail Wu June 09, 2020
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In a live broadcast "Morning Prayer" on WeChat, Pastor Zhang Zhongqiu shared a sermon entitled, "Joseph’s time in prison teaches us to not rush for success in the workplace." From the experience of Joseph, we learn the meaning of hardship and suffering in our lives.

Pastor Zhang shared three points. First of all, despite being sold into slavery, Joseph remained faithful.

Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. (Genesis 37:36) Before Joseph was 17 years old, he was his father's favorite son at home. Because of the jealousy of his brothers, he was sold to Egypt as a slave and robbed of his dignity. Although God gave Joseph a dream, he suffered greatly and everything changed after he was sold into slavery.

For the many students who have just graduated, they have been very happy at home and school, and have not experienced any pain. But upon entering the workplace, their lives are completely different from school, and they will experience more difficult circumstances. Sometimes their lives go from the highest point to the lowest, just like Joseph. The dream is good, but reality is cruel.

It is the same when they become adults and face marriage and having a family. They hope for a good marriage, but there are practical difficulties. They need to deal with the chores of daily life, providing the rice, oil, salt, vinegar and tea needed to live, learning how to raise children and how to take care of elderly family members. But Joseph accepted his new role and identity in prison, slowly accepted hisnew environment and with God’s help overcame the difficulties he faced.

They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true. The king sent and released him; the ruler of peoples set him free. (Psalms 105:18-20) Although God allows some suffering to happen in our lives, he also provides powerful protection. Although Joseph fell to the very bottom of society, he was able to miraculously rise above his circumstances. "When Joseph was a slave, he worked diligently, though he experienced a lot of injuries. When many young people today suffer blows, they may be unwilling to continue their work. They are not mentally strong and unable to bear the pain,” said Pastor Zhang.

Later Joseph became a servant in the house of Potiphar, appreciated and trusted by the Egyptian official. This was a great testimony. "Today in the workplace, as a Christian, are you honest, and do others trust your character? Do others feel safe with you?" Many times the workplace is like a threshing floor, you have the opportunity to share Christ with others because they trust you and feel safe. This is a beautiful witness that we as Christians can share with others.

Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph because he was a handsome man. Every day she attempted to seduce him. But Joseph feared God, so he avoided evil and refused the advances of Potiphar’s wife. He said: How can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God? Joseph was able to avoid sin, but he was framed by Potiphar’s wife and put in prison.

Today we Christians should imitate Joseph—avoid adultery and uphold God’s principles. There is a bottom line that we cannot cross. We should fear God, work hard for him, and believe that he is in charge of everything.

Second, despite being framed, Joseph’s heart was filled with love. Pastor Zhang shared that Joseph's heart had not been distorted by his suffering;his heart was still filled with love. When Joseph saw the dejection of the king’s cupbearer and baker, he immediately asked what troubled them and then interpreted their dreams. The opportunities God gives us are often because of our love. Joseph had love in his heart, which was very remarkable. He helped to interpret their dreams faithfully. He asked the cupbearer to mention him to Pharaoh and help get him out of the prison after his position was restored. It was because of the love that was in him that he had this opportunity to get out of prison.

Although Joseph suffered a lot, his heart was still filled with love. The person loved by God is the one who has delights in his soul. The love of God overcomes pain. Perhaps we all have wounds in our hearts, but God heals us and turns the wounds into scars which will no longer affect our lives.

Being forgotten, Joseph still had hope. After the cupbearer was released from prison he forgot about Joseph. Joseph spent another two years in prison. These two years were very important for Joseph. Maybe we can't understand why God let him stay in prison for two more years? God had his own schedule—the time helped to prepare Joseph for the future.

Because Pharaoh's dreams could not be solved, the cupbearer remembered Joseph, who was released from prison and then interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. We can see that these two years were very important to Joseph because God was training him in faith. During the next 14 years, Joseph learned a lesson in believing in God's control. What God said would certainly come true, seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. Joseph learned patience. All things including time are in the hands of God. ”If he couldn’t believe and wait, he might be in danger, because the Pharaoh might find he was a liar,” Zhang stated.

Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. (Psalms 39:8-9)

In conclusion, he said, “Because what I have encountered is from God, I need to be patient, wait on God, experience his peace and praise him. From a spiritual point of view, God gives me a much more abundant life filled with vitality. God will not let us waste time but give us opportunities to witness for God by our experience and do greater work in the future. In this time when there is much selfishness, we need to  rely on the grace of God to go upstream, not following the waves and not overwhelmed by the tide."

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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