Saturday, October 30, 2010

Potiphar Leaves Joseph In Charge Of Everything - Genesis 39:5-6

And it came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him around he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

Imagine getting promoted at work to a very senior job and from that point on your employer’s company became a success story – sales doubled, share price soared, new products were developed, and the chairman of the Board knew that you were the reason! Well that in essence was exactly what happened in the case of Potiphar’s house and Joseph. And from earlier verses we know that Potiphar realized all this was because the Lord was with Joseph.

Potiphar was happy to leave “everything he owned” to the care of Joseph. So far, so good. But was there a downside that was missed? I believe so. Potiphar dropped the ball. The scripture says that as long as Joseph was around, Potiphar did not concern himself with anything except eating. Wow. Potiphar lived a carefree life, indulging only in the pleasures and desires of his stomach, his appetite for food. As long as ‘profits’ were being produced with Joseph’s overseeing his household, nothing else mattered to him. But he failed to see the implications of the situation or to put it in the words of Bill Hybels, “he took his eyes off the main event” and failed to realize the new dynamics at play in his life. And what were they?

Well, for starters as long as he was the one running the show, everyone looked to him for direction and leadership. And that most likely included his wife. She may well have been proud of her husband doing so well, getting to the position he had achieved in Pharoah’s kingdom, and providing so well for her. But now as he seemed to concern himself only with what he ate, he lost that attractiveness for her and perhaps for his staff. In fact, it was Joseph they all went to for direction, advice, and leadership. Potiphar was the ‘boss’ in name only. He no longer made things happen or granted favors or made decisions. Joseph was the man.

And then the scripture tells us that Joseph was “handsome in form and appearance”. Take your eye off the ball or the main events in your life and the devil is ready to jump into action. Leave your main responsibilities to others, especially those that are “handsome” or “beautiful” in the case of females turn your attention to mundane things liking eating or whatever else turns your crank, and your spouse is likely to get some ideas.

But what is the lesson for us today from these verses, as spouses, as business owners, as pastors or leaders, and as Christians? Simply this. You can delegate but you cannot abdicate. You can trust but you need to remain connected and aware. Someone else’s faith in God does not always cover you. And finally, make sure that what you focus on in life is what really matters. That is my prayer for us all. We’ll watch this story unfold in the verses ahead.

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  1. I like the line, "You can delegate but you cannot abdicate". A good post, Ken.

    And who said you could use that picture? Methinks I have a large cheque coming.

  2. Thanks Karl. And as for the picture -- do you have a big enough cheque to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that this is indeed you. Which end will people recognize and vouch for? LOL. Blessings. Ken.