“The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Genesis 39:2
Does seventeen, scared, stripped, shackled, mocked, abused, thrown in a situation and country where you know no one or their language, and are auctioned off by the slave traders, sound like the picture of success to you? Well, it certainly doesn’t to me, at least not in the natural, but that’s exactly how Joseph is described in Genesis 39:2, as a “successful man.”
This kind of changes the whole paradigm of success, doesn’t it? It’s certainly a lot different than the picture our society has painted for us today. Success is often measured by bank accounts, homes, cars, and social circles. If that were the true definition, then there is no way that the word “successful” could have been used in this verse.
Success as God sees it is defined by one ingredient only. Success is measured only by the fact that He is with us. According to this verse, God’s presence in Joseph’s life is what made him the standout. Do you realize that if the world’s definition was the accurate definition then even Jesus would have been considered a failure?
At the height of Jesus’ ministry, he had thousands of people following him. He could muster 5,000 men, not counting the women and children, on a hillside to hear Him preach and then could feed the whole crowd with just a few loaves and fishes. But by the end of His earthly ministry, in the world’s eyes He was a failure. In their eyes, He couldn’t even get himself down off the cross, and his congregation of thousands had dwindled to just a small gathering of one hundred and twenty in the upper room after his ascension.
What distinguishes Joseph, Jesus, and even you and me from the world’s success standard is one thing, and that is that God is with us. If God is with you, you are already a success. You don’t have to try to be, you already are – period. Isn’t that refreshing? How silly would it be to try to get in your car when you’re already in it? It’s just as silly for us to try to be successful when we already are. What a relief this revelation brings. By knowing that we are successful and the sheer fact that God is with us takes off all the pressure of doing, and allows us to rest in Him.
Some years ago I was excited about launching a new business venture in publishing a real estate magazine in my local region of NC. I remember going to see my Pastor to show him what I was about to step into, in hopes of his blessing and insight. I’ll never forget what he said to me as I finished laying out all my big plans. He said, “Johnny, this looks like a great idea, but I don’t know much about the publishing or the real estate business. But why don’t you just approach this with the belief that whatever you put your hands to do, you will prosper?”
What he stirred in me that day was a challenge. A challenge to believe that the “Blessing of God” was real, tangible and already existed in my life. We are not successful because of what we do or what we have. We are successful because of who we are in Him. And, because we are already a success, that success is manifested in what we put our hands to.
The true key to success is in knowing that if you are a born again child of God, that whatever God has called you to do, you are a success because He is with you.
Today’s Thought: Because God is with us, we are successful, and that success is manifested in everything He calls us to do.