Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me….I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you….But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:4-5, 7)
After Joseph was released from prison, he was appointed by Pharaoh to lead Egypt through a seven-year famine. Now, Joseph is one of the highest ranking government officials in Egypt, and through God’s power, an exceptionally good one.
For seven years, Joseph organized efforts to store up Egypt’s agricultural abundance. And when the famine hit, Egypt was so well prepared that “all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere” (Genesis 41:57). As today’s passage reveals, “all the world” included Jacob’s other sons, Joseph’s long-lost brothers.
Now remember, it is through Jacob’s family that God promised to redeem the world. That promise couldn’t be fulfilled if the family died out due to this global famine. And while God could have miraculously provided food for Jacob and Joseph’s brothers, he chose to work through the miracle of Joseph’s mundane government work.
The same is true today.
While God could choose to miraculously alleviate poverty, he does so primarily through the miraculous work of entrepreneurs creating jobs.
While God could miraculously feed us through food raining down from the sky, he does so primarily through the miraculous work of chefs, servers, and grocery store clerks.
And while I pray that you are using your miraculous work to explicitly point people to Christ, Joseph reminds us that simply loving our neighbors as ourselves through our work matters to God.
Commenting on today’s passage, one commentary says, “If we ever have the impression that God wants us in the workplace only so we can tell others about him...Joseph’s work says otherwise. The things we make and do in our work are themselves crucial to God and to other people.”
Amen. May that truth be a great encouragement to you to do your work with excellence and love today!