February 21, 2016

God’s People at Work: Joseph

Genesis 45:1-11

He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

—  Genesis 45:8

So far this month we’ve reflected on God’s design for work, the ways in which sin distorts God’s purposes in work, and how God’s work of salvation changes our approach to work. We’ve also seen how our daily labor can mesh with God’s ultimate work in this world. Now let’s consider what God shows us in the life and work of some biblical characters.

After many years, Joseph had reached surprising heights in leadership. He had become prime minister over Egypt. But his career path had been filled with more downs than ups. He had begun in Egypt as a slave, later was falsely accused of sexual harassment, and then was imprisoned. He did a favor for someone that should have helped him get out of prison, but the person he had helped failed to speak up for him.

Though most of us haven’t had to endure such extreme experiences, we can probably name some major obstacles we’ve faced over the years. Yet, looking back, Joseph saw the wisdom of God at work. Even in his times of struggle Joseph saw God’s guiding, protecting hand.

You will, no doubt, experience setbacks as you serve God in your life and work. Some may feel like career-ending failures. But the same God who used the death of Jesus to accomplish his work of salvation can use setbacks to bring triumph in the work he calls you to do.

All-powerful God, you can take a setback or failure and turn it around to accomplish your saving plan. Teach us to trust that you are with us in whatever work you have called us to do. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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