The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.

—Genesis 39:21

Genesis 39 reveals that the Lord was working in Joseph’s life even though Joseph didn’t know it at the time. God “extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper” (vv. 21-23). Do those words sound familiar? That’s exactly what happened when Joseph was with Potiphar. Joseph was one among many slaves, but Potiphar noticed something different about Joseph and promoted him. The same thing happened in the jail. Joseph was just one among many prisoners, but he was elevated because there was something different about him. God granted him success in whatever he did. We will see the same situation again when Joseph is in Pharaoh’s household.

This illustrates an important principle about success. Success is not determined by our position but by our disposition–our attitude. Unsuccessful people think, “If only I had that position in the company or that title on the organizational chart, then I could really be a success.” But successful people know it doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO or whether you carry out inmates’ waste as Joseph did, your success is not the title of your work; it’s how you perform your work. That’s what makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. There is no substitute for hard work. You can be incredibly intelligent and talented, but if you are not willing to put in the hours with a good attitude, your success, if you achieve any, will be short-lived.

Solomon says, “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16) and, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29). It is not your position; it is your disposition that determines whether you are a success.

Perhaps you are studying hard in school, but it seems like nobody notices. Other people get scholarships, but not you. Or maybe you are working for a company—you do your job with honesty and diligence, but other people keep getting promoted. God’s Word says that we all do our work for God alone. It shouldn’t matter whether we are recognized by anyone or not. He is the One we serve (Colossians 3:23-24). But the fact is, more often than not, if you do your work with diligence and faithfulness and an attitude that honors God, you will rise to the top. That’s what happened with Joseph. God promoted him and made him to prosper.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Forgotten, Forsaken, Forever?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.