Connect, Lead, Equip: An Example for Leadership Growth… Joseph’s Patience & 4 Self-Reflection Questions
Patience is a very critical aspect of personal development and perseverance not just in life but especially as a leader. Think about what God designed for Joseph when he went from the prison to the palace. Had Joseph come before Pharaoh two years prior, chances are it would have been only because of the king’s curiosity. There would have been no personal need or sense of urgency in the king’s own heart. He would not have called for all the wise men of Egypt. Consequently, there would have been no opportunity for Pharaoh to compare Joseph’s success with their failure. That’s why the king said to Joseph, “There is no one so discerning and wise as you,” (Genesis 41:39).
When all this was going on, Joseph probably didn’t fully realize what God was doing. He only knew of the single events that occurred. And he knew he didn’t like them. He didn’t like being sold as a slave, or thrown into prison, or forgotten by the cupbearer. He couldn’t see at that time how any of that made sense, especially since he was a man who sought after God and was faithful to Him. But when things unfolded, we do know that God used Joseph to not only save Egypt from disaster but to save his own family from starvation. Genesis 50:20 shows that Joseph did eventually understand God’s plan clearly when he said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” As a leader, Joseph exemplified patience and great things eventually came.
Below are some questions regarding leadership and patience to consider based on Joseph’s situation.
4 Patience & Leadership Questions:
What are the life lessons we learn from the principles fleshed out in Joseph’s experience?
- Patience during difficulty strengthens our faith in God.
- Men and women of God who are forced to live in circumstances that are totally beyond their control emerge knowing more than ever before that without God, they can do nothing.
- James 1:2-4 describes, “the testing of your faith.” The word “testing” denotes a testing directed toward an end. The end or purpose is that the person tested should become stronger from it. God’s purpose is not to break us, but to build us. He uses trials to bring out the best in us. He proves that our faith is real. It can last and grow amid difficult circumstances.
How Can We Use Experiences to Develop Our Faith in God?
Patience during difficulty allows time to develop true character and reflect that character to others. This was certainly true in Joseph’s life. Though he had enormous difficulty hurled at him, he never turned away from God. He weathered every storm. Though tempted to be bitter, immoral, and proud, he never let down his guard. There are things we cannot learn apart from a period of waiting. Often that period must be in a context of adversity. Romans 5 explains that, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character….” James 1 says, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Is God Using Experiences to Develop and Reveal Our Character?
Patience during difficulty is sometimes God’s preparation for what He is going to do with and through us. God’s timing was perfect in Joseph’s life. And because it was, Joseph was not only released from prison but promoted by the king to the highest position. This principle can be true in our own lives if we are patient and wait for God’s timing. In the meantime, we must see ministry progress in our current state. Joseph ministered to the baker and cupbearer. When Paul was in prison in Rome, he used it as an opportunity to share the gospel with the palace guard. We are to make the best use we can of our circumstance and practice patience.
Is God Using Difficult Experiences to Provide Opportunities to Use Us in the Future Far More than He Could Now?
Take courage in the words of Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
We’ll always be growing in life and we’re in control of how each circumstance shapes us. We must ask ourselves when obstacles arise if we’re choosing to practice patience and be molded as stronger leaders.