At last, the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food. Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you. ”So, with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world. (Genesis 41:53–57)
If I read these verses correctly this was a widespread famine such as the world had never known, for it says, "The famine was spread over all the face of the earth."
In these circumstances what did Joseph do? He didn't hoard the storehouses of plenty for himself and his family, or for the royal household, or even for the land of Egypt. He opened those great vaults and released the contents to anyone who needed food. "The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph." This was a man who never took advantage of his privileges, his authority, or his financial resources.
He is continuing to walk humbly before his Lord. He has earthly power, but his integrity is still in place, and he freely shares his abundance with others in need. That helps in our evaluation, doesn't it? We cannot help but admire those who reap the rewards of righteousness because God prospers them, when they, in turn, provide for others in need.
I want to go on record here and state that I personally believe that some of the choicest saints in the family of God are those who have walked in integrity as God has blessed them with wealth by His grace, and they use it for God's glory. Ministries I have been a part of have benefited immensely not only from those who have little of this world's goods, but also from the Josephs of this and previous generations.
To the wealthy Josephs that God is raising up in this generation and the next, may you continue to walk with Him. May you generously use your affluence and authority for His glory and your influence and success to make His Word and truth known.
God can use our authority and our abundance and our promotion as He did with Joseph. But before He can, we need to humble ourselves before God's mighty hand and say, "Jesus Christ, I need You. I have all of this to account for, and I can't take any of it with me. Please use me as you see fit." With authority comes the need for accountability. With popularity comes the need for humility. With prosperity comes the need for integrity. Joseph passed all three tests with flying colors.
Those who model the same depth of character mixed with wisdom deserve our respect and affirmation.
Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright ©2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson