STANDING BEFORE KINGS
Proverbs 22:29 “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
In the book of Genesis chapter 39, we see how Joseph was sold into Egypt and found himself in the house of Potiphar. This young man, at the age of seventeen years was a diligent and arduous worker. He gained the confidence of his boss to the point that he was in charge of everything in his boss’ house. The boss knew nothing of what was going on. Everything was left in Joseph’s care. He did an excellent job which caused his boss to be very impressed. He was a slave. But his mind was not enslaved. He had had two dreams. He did not understand the turn his life had taken. He had shared these dreams with his family and the jealously which the dreams triggered had landed him in this position in Egypt. Nevertheless, his faith in his God was unshaken. This is evident when the only thing that Potiphar withheld from him, his wife, tried to seduce him and his response was “how can I do this thing and sin against God?”
His refusal to sleep with his boss’ wife landed him in prison. This did not shake his faith. He remained faithful to God and continued to be diligent. His attitude allowed him to become the captain of the guard in prison. The events of his life did not make him bitter. They propelled him to greater and higher heights in his dedication and service, firstly to God and then to his fellowmen. Pharaoh’s butler and baker ended up in prison and each had a dream. Joseph interpreted both their dreams and the interpretations were on the mark. The butler promised that he would remember Joseph to the King as soon as he was restored. It was two years later before he had any memory of Joseph. This did not stop Joseph from being diligent at this job. Pharaoh had dreamed a couple of dreams for which he needed the interpretations. Joseph was remembered and gave Pharaoh the interpretations. Joseph instructed that a man of “wisdom and discretion” be put over the collection of food to secure Egypt throughout the time of famine. Joseph was appointed as that man. His diligence paid off. He not only stood before the king, but was now second in command to the king.
In our current situations we too need to be diligent at our tasks. It is not always evident that we are being observed at whatever we do. Many times as we work, we do it sloppily and ineffectively. We do just enough to get paid. There is no passion to the way we conduct our business. We do not respect those we serve or those for whom we work. Once we feel secure in our positions, we do the bare minimal to survive or to maintain the position. This is not diligence. Diligence speaks to the ability to do what is right in the face of adversity. In spite of the situation or circumstances in which we find ourselves, we should ensure that we do a good job each day. Our pursuit of our duties should not be contingent on who is watching us or if we are trying to impress someone. Diligence allows us to do a good job because that represents who we are. It is important that we do impressive work. This marks us as an important individual in any situation and pivots us before kings. In other words it ensures our promotion. This is what happened in Joseph’s case and in so many others instances in the bible. It still happens in our world. Ultimately whatever we do in word or in deed should be done to the honour and glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” We do want His approval and to stand before Him one day.