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.” Genesis 39:22 (NIV)
In his thirties he led an e-business technology team from a start-up company to its public stock offering. The firm made a splash in the press, sold out, and went looking for a new and younger manager.
Unemployed, he founded a new business. The job took him to Asia where he met with top executives in the semi-conductor industry. Modeling the successful strategy of his previous job, he positioned the firm to go public. But days before their announcement, the global economy burped; investors pulled back, the firm floundered. For years he watched as one angel investor after another waltzed by his office, but none came bearing good news and gifts. The firm folded.
In order to pay the bills, he began restoring homes, adding decks, and refinishing rooms. Of course, business thrived. He hired additional help, rebuilt his savings, and discovered he enjoyed working with his hands, going to bed tired, and waking up in better shape than the day before. He dropped pounds and added muscle, plus a few more clients. Over coffee one morning, a customer commented on his leadership skills. “Would you like to have a job with an office, benefits, and stock options?” his friend asked.
“Only if it presents a challenge.”
Of course it would.
He accepted a job at the customer’s firm and soon his unit led the company in growth, profits, and efficiency. The CEO offered him a promotion, one as head of a new division with increased responsibility and income. Then, on the eve of the announcement, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. The firm fired him.
Joseph also suffered betrayal, mistreatment, and misfortune. Told by God that he would become a grand leader, Joseph struggled with the mantle of greatness. “Listen to the dream I had,” said Joseph. “I had another dream… No one is greater in this house than I am…When all goes well with you, remember me… show me kindness… mention me… I have done nothing to deserve being put in a pit.” Joseph’s arrogant attitude bred jealousy and resentment, leading others to forget and forsake him.
God has made each of us responsible for someone and some thing. Whether we’re serving time in prison, serving soup to the homeless, or serving on the board of a Fortune 500 company, our attitude toward others reflects our heart for God’s work.
When my friend arrived home that final evening, he hugged his wife, held her hand, and prayed for God to see them through the crisis—just as they’d done in times past. I have no doubt he’ll rise again from pit to prominence. That’s what men of God do.
Even when we feel imprisoned, we don’t have to yield to despair. God’s promises, power, and protection will set us free if we trust, work, and wait upon Him.
On APRIL 26, 2019, after a 9 year battle with cancer, God welcomed Big EZ home. I have no doubt Ernie heard the words, “Good job, buddy. You did it!”
(the post above first appeared in the book My Father’s Business.)