Summary: As you study Joseph’s life you will attain a new measure of success.
How do you measure success? Some people measure success by money. Some people measure success by power. Some people measure success by public opinion. On this father’s day I want to take a look at a man in the Bible who was considered a successful man. I believe many people have a warped idea of success.
I heard about two ladies who met for the first time after graduating high school together. One lady said to the other, “Have you managed to live a successful life?”
“Yes,” said the second lady, “I’ve been married four times.”
The first lady said “How does being married four times make you successful.”
The second lady said:
The first marriage was a millionaire- I married him for the money.
The second marriage was an actor- I married him the show.
The third marriage was a preacher- I married him to get ready.
The fourth marriage was an undertaker- I married him to prepare to go.
“My philosophy is, One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”
Don’t you agree that joke is warped? Is it me or the joke? Success should not be measured by money. Success should not be measured by popularity. Success should be measured by God. I want to show you a man God measured as a success. “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” (Gen. 39:1-2) Let’s review the story. Joseph was a young Israelite man. He ran into conflict with his brothers and they sold him to a group of Ishmaelite traders who in turn sold him into Egypt. That is where the story picks up in our text. In the middle of that bad situation God called Joseph a success. If Joseph could be a slave in the land of Egypt and still be a success, there is hope for all of us.
Let’s begin by identifying what success is not. Success is not a matter of ideal circumstances. Remember, Joseph was a slave.
Sometimes we live in less than perfect circumstances. I heard about a young couple that illustrates this truth. This couple decided to get married. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other. The Groom-to-be, overcoming his fear, decided to ask his father for advice. "Father," he said, "I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage. I love my fiancée, very much, but you see, I have very smelly feet, and I’m afraid that my future wife will be put off by them." "No problem," said dad. "All you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed." Well, to him this seemed a workable solution. The bride-to-be, overcoming her fear, decided to take her problem to her mom. "Mom," she said, "When I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful." "Honey," her mother consoled, "everyone has bad breath in the morning." "No, you don’t understand. My morning breath is so bad, I’m afraid that my new husband will not want to sleep in the same room with me." Her mother said simply, "Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed, and head for the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you’ve brushed your teeth. Not a word," her mother affirmed. Well, she thought it was certainly worth a try. The loving couple was finally married in a beautiful ceremony. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn, the husband woke with a start to find that one of his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searched the bed. This, of course, woke his bride, who, without thinking, immediately asked, "What on earth are you doing?" "Oh, no!" he gasped in shock, "You’ve swallowed my sock!" SOURCE: Pastor Tim, http://www.cybersalt.org/cleanlaugh
(Contributed by Sermon Central)
Success is not about being popular with everyone. Remember, Joseph was not popular with his own flesh and blood. His brothers disliked him.
If we are going to define success, on Biblical standards, let’s begin with our text and stick to the text. I want to use a little alliteration to define success. I want you to carry three words home with you.
1. Success begins with Faith in God. Notice verse 2 “The Lord was with Joseph.” Any success that Joseph may have attained came by way of the Lord. Let’s clarify a couple of things about faith. Faith involves a personal relationship. Over the years some people have said to me “I do not want to talk about my faith, it is a personal thing.” When people make such statements they usually mean, “leave me alone, you might find out the truth about my faith.” Real faith involves a personal relationship whereby we know the assurance of God’s abiding presence.