The Life of Joseph: A Lesson in Leadership
“You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.” -Genesis 45:10-11
Let’s recap Joseph’s story up to this point. When he was a teenager, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph went to Egypt and became the servant of a man named Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife tries to make a move on Joseph, and when Joseph doesn’t let her, she accuses him of trying to make a move on her. So he gets arrested and sent to jail. From that point, he interprets dreams and gains a reputation in the jail so that Pharaoh calls on him to interpret a dream. Pharaoh is so impressed that he makes Joseph second in command in Egypt. Joseph takes care of Egypt in its plentiful years so that when famine hits, there is enough food for everyone. It is during this famine that Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to get food. Now we’re caught up.
Let me ask you a question: what would you do if you were in Joseph’s position? His brothers, who sold him into slavery out of spite, are now in front of him begging for food. Oh how the tables have turned! This would be the perfect time for Joseph to take revenge on his brothers after all these years.
But Joseph doesn’t take revenge.
No, he uses his position of authority to bless his brothers. He gives them the best land in Egypt, some wagons to carry all of their possessions, and tells them that he’ll provide all of their goods as long as they live in Egypt. Here’s the point: Joseph uses his position of power to bless others, not bring them down. This is good leadership.
Follow Joseph’s example. Whatever position of leadership/influence you find yourself in, find ways to use that influence for the good of others. This fits right in with what Jesus says is the second greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) Want to be a Christian leader? Lead like Joseph!