Joseph was taken directly to the gardener when they entered Potiphar’s home.
The gardener looked at him. “Do you speak Egyptian?”
Joseph stood quietly.
The gardener looked at the men who brought him in. “Do we know where he’s from?”
“He’s a Hebrew from Canaan.”
“Canaan, that’s closer than most of the slaves we get in. Hopefully there’s some similarity between our languages. Is he hostile?”
“Not at all. He hasn’t fought us a bit.”
“Good, I have a nasty job I’ve been putting off. I’ll start him there.”
The gardener grabbed Joseph’s wrist and pulled him to a row of shrubs. He reached in his pouch and showed Joseph a short-bladed knife. He dropped to his knees and motioned for Joseph to do the same. He pulled a bare branch away from the thorny bush. “I need you to cut off these dead branches.”
He shook his head. “Dead…” He cut the branch off at its base. “Cut…” He set it behind them. “Pile…”
After repeating the procedure with the words he handed the knife to Joseph.
Joseph pulled a dead branch and repeated the Egyptian word for “dead.” Then he cut it off and attempted the Egyptian word for “cut.”
The gardener corrected Joseph’s pronunciation and smiled.
Joseph repeated the word for “cut” and placed the branch on the pile. He correctly said “pile.”
The gardener smiled and nodded. Then he pointed at the long row of bushes. He patted Joseph’s shoulder as he left.
About an hour later Joseph tracked down the gardener. “Where do you want me to take the pile of dead cut?”
The gardener’s mouth dropped open when he saw the blood on Joseph’s hands and arms from the punctures and scrapes from the thorns. He glanced at the row of bushes with the piles of dead branches in order. “You can’t be done already. You must have missed quite a few.”
The gardener went to the mid-point of the row and bent down. He didn’t didn’t find any death on the bushes as he perused the row. He shook his head. “I don’t know how much Potiphar paid for you, but he got quite a steal today.”
Joseph pointed at the piles of dead branches, shrugged his shoulders and stared at the gardener.
The gardener pointed to the side of the house near the kitchen. Joseph saw a stack of wood there and nodded. He carefully picked up a pile of kindling and drug it to the kitchen area.
A few months later Potiphar approached Joseph. “I’ve only heard good things about your work ethic, young man. The way my fortunes have changed I think your god is possibly blessing me because of you. Keep up the good work.”
Joseph smiled. “Thank you, Sir. May I make some suggestions to you?”
Potiphar raised his eyebrows. “Such as…”
Joseph cleared his throat. “Omar is good with the plants. He’s happy there, but many of the people are doing things they aren’t good at. If you moved them around I’m sure you’d get more out of them.”
Potiphar crossed his arms and stared at Joseph. “I’ve been thinking about making somebody a supervisor over things around here since I’m gone so much. I’ll let you carry out your plans and see what happens. If you fail I can always throw you in prison for insubordination.”
Joseph swallowed. “Yes, Sir.”
Potiphar laughed. “I don’t think I have anything to worry about with you in charge, Joseph.”
Joseph’s first job away from home led to an advancement to head up a household of slaves. Joseph was in no position to be able to buy that promotion. His work ethic was the only thing he had going for him.
There were a lot of obstacles for Joseph to clear before that happened. The main one was the language barrier. The Bible doesn’t tell us how he worked through that dilemma, but he did. He had to whether he wanted to or not.
I have a feeling Joseph accepted his situation as a slave and did his best work for whoever gave him orders. Immersion into a new culture was just another challenge to overcome.
He would get to know the other slaves on a personal level as they rubbed shoulders each day. That acquaintance would prove crucial to him putting his gift of administration to use in Potiphar’s house.
We’re too quick to look past the obstacles Joseph had in his climb upward. I think he gave his best all the time.
How about you? Is your boss impressed with your work ethic? Is God?
Are you using Colossians 3:23 as a measure of your work ethic?
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
The preacher at the small country church I grew up in explained that what that means is that when your employer tells you to do something it’s as if Jesus Christ, Himself, is telling you to do it. That made a huge impact on me.
I think Joseph used that approach in his life. That would explain his rise to power so many times in his life.
When you change your mindset from thinking about what you can get from your employer to what you can better give in order to please God your whole perspective will change. That attitude will rub off on other employees as well.
Guess who else will notice.
Don’t be surprised when your boss comes to you asking if you’d like that position who’ve been scheming to get.
Take a lesson from Joseph and give your best at work when you’re there. The promotions will follow in God’s timing.
If others take advantage of you and they get those promotions ahead of you keep in mind who is paying attention.
God is pleased when we honor Him by giving our best in all we do.
Let’s honor God all of the time.
I’ll see you later. Wade