Genesis 39:4 “So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.
Serving others is often considered a New Testament concept grounded in the teaching of Jesus and Paul to serve others. The story of Joseph and his interaction with Potiphar provides a challenging portion of the concept of serving.
- Joseph was not serving a kind and benevolent person.
- Joseph was not serving the poor, marginalized, and downtrodden.
- Joseph’s service could have been by either force or choice.
- Joseph did not know the future
The ability to serve others is made more difficult when those we are serving hold absolute power over us, our work, and our life. Potiphar was such a man, but I believe the principals found in this exchange will also work in our life.
- Joseph saw his service to others as service to God, as revealed in his comments to Potiphar’s wife later. Genesis 39:9.
- Joseph’s service gained him favor with men, repeatedly. Genesis 39:21, Acts 7:10.
- There is a direct correlation between service and promotion. Genesis:39:4-6, Genesis 39:21-23.
So to apply this story to our life, we must serve as though we are serving our Master and Redeemer, Jesus. Only then can we find contentment in our service, strength to endure hardship, and gain the favor of men.
One final note, doing what is right and serving others is not always received properly by others, nor does it exclude us from mistreatment by others, but it does secure the favor of our one true Master. The one who holds all authority, as well as, the stars in His hands.