~ I just read through a good bit of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. As I read the story, its occurred to me that Joseph basically had three gifts and those three gifts of his basically directed the course of his life.
These are the three gifts and how they shaped the direction that his life took. His gifts either got him into trouble or out of trouble.
(1) Dreams: It is obvious that Joseph had a gift here. By way of dreams he could foretell the future. His first two dreams had to do with how his father, mother and his brothers would some day bow down to him. That is to say, he would somehow be over them some day.
Joseph naively went off and told it to them and this did nothing but stoke his brother’s preexisting jealousy and anger even more. The end result of this all was that they sold him off as a slave to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt and re-sell him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officer.
~ Now, what if he had kept mum about the dreams that he had had? What would have happened? Would he have continued his life in Canaan rather than Egypt?
(2) Good-looks: This is also a gift. Joseph was good looking.
“… Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.”~ Genesis 39:6b
This was a gift that Joseph couldn’t help but “exercise” and unfortunately this landed in some trouble with Potiphar’s wife who tried to seduce him. To make a longer story shorter, the end result was that upon her best attempt and failure to seduce Joseph, Potiphar’s wife makes some false accusations about him and had him thrown in jail.
~ Now what if Joseph was just some plain vanilla looking kind of a guy? He was nothing special. A nondescript blah. Would this have a happened? Would his life have been different? Would he have continued to work for Potiphar for the rest of his life? Good-looks kill. No? Maybe not, but they can land you in prison at least.
(3) Managerial Skills: That Joseph was gifted in this way is very clear. The Bible repeatedly points out that whatever and wherever Joseph put his hands and feet, he found success. And his success was so noticed by his bosses, that he basically moved up the ranks. This did not simply just happen. It happened because God was with him.
~ This was the case while he was working as a slave for Potiphar:
“The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands … and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. … 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.” ~ Genesis 39:2-6
~ This was the case while he was in prison:
“But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” ~ Genesis 39:20b-23
~ This would continue to be the case later on when Joseph would miraculously leap up the ladder and becomes second to none but Pharaoh. Joseph was basically blessed with good managerial skills.
~Now what if Joseph had poor managerial skills? Would he have been put in charge of anything while in prison? And were that the case would he have ever met the baker and the cup-bearer later on? – the latter of whom would eventually get him freed from prison. Perhaps he would have continued the rest of his life in prison.
Evaluation: I think of the above three gifts, the best gift to have is managerial skills. These skills will be with you for the entirety of your life and take you far.
Dreams on the other hand – well, there is something involuntary and uncontrollable about their nature. You no have no guarantee as to when they will come about. You could also get bad dreams which horrify you.
And good-looks , well everyone ages. Your lose your looks over time.
*Aside: Note also that he started his life off as an extremely naive teen, but ended his life as one pretty shrewd guy.