How deflecting glory leads to bigger swings

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (Genesis 41:15-16)

Joseph was in prison unjustly. So when the guards told him that the Pharaoh needed his skills, Joseph must have sensed some hope that maybe, just maybe, his talents as a dream interpreter could earn him a literal get out of jail free card.

With that context, we almost expect Joseph to trumpet his own abilities to Pharaoh. But when Pharaoh gives him that opportunity, Joseph deflects the glory that could have so easily been his.

What remarkable humility! Even though he was in the fight of his life where the temptation to glorify himself through his work must have been strong, Joseph recognized that it is God, not us, who produces results through our work. And thus, he alone deserves the glory.

Ironically, it was that humility that led Joseph to be so bold. The biblical text implies that Pharaoh had already asked countless other wise men to interpret his dream before concluding that “no one” could do it. But Joseph walks up and essentially says of Pharaoh’s request, “No problem.” Because Joseph recognized that it was God working through him, he knew that God could use him to do work others deemed impossible.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a writer, a teacher, a stay-at-home-mom, or a designer, you have an unfair advantage. You have the God who is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” living inside of you (see Ephesians 3:20). Let that truth inspire you, like Joseph, to boldly take on the problems nobody else will touch. Because when you succeed, God alone will get the glory!


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