The picture of a truly successful man is seen in Joseph. As we view him in his late thirties, he is in the courts of Pharaoh with the number two position In the land. But his success was measured by more than that. He was a righteous man who, even in his youth refused to be involved in immorality. He had a tender and forgiving attitude toward his brethren. He had a clear concept of God’s plan for him. He coped with life in its hardest moments and overcame, keeping his perspective. He was sold by his envious brothers and his father did not come to look for him. He was lied about when he dealt justly with Potiphar, and cast into prison. The butler forgot him when he returned to his place in the court’. But through it all Joseph remained a godly man.

How could this have been? He left home at about 17, and how many at that age could have coped with life as did Joseph? Have not similar circumstances embittered many a young person, causing them to wax worse and worse? Was he not found in a world that did not believe in Jehovah God? Weren’t many ungodly pleasures thrust on this young man? Was he not faced with unfair treatment from the beginning? What made his case different from many who have much better advantages today?

It must have been that he had the training at home that was necessary for him to cope. By age 17 our patterns for life have most likely been set. We are what we will likely always be. But where did Joseph get this training? Were not his older brothers the opposite?   There are two or three possibilities. His mother died in giving birth to his younger brother, Benjamin, but she could have spent much time with her first born who was so long in coming. We are told that the first five years of a child’s life are the most important to his later life. The other sons belonged to either Leah or the two hand maidens. Leah was jealous of Joseph’s mother because his father loved her most and this jealousy could have affected Leah’s sons. Jealousy and envy will not only destroy us but also those around us. You mothers, be aware of your role in shaping the life of your children.

Another possibility is that Jacob could have given more time to Joseph than to the other sons. After all, he was the first born of his beloved Rachel. It was clear that Joseph was his favorite. But then, when the other boys came along, Jacob was busy building his fortune and likely did not take the time that a father needs to spend with his children to help them build their character. And during this time the character of Jacob wasn’t all it should be. He had stolen his brother’s birthright and used deception with his father-in-law to build his herd. When Joseph came along, he was regretting some of his actions and longing for home. He had begun to realize what was most important in life. Having learned this himself he could teach young Joseph.

Do you want your child to be truly successful? Parents, mothers, fathers begin putting godly qualities in them from birth. They will likely be what we teach them to be.

Morris D. Norman
via University church of Christ
Auburn, AL

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