Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.
—Genesis 41:36

A second quality of leadership we see in the story of Joseph in Genesis 47 is the quality of wisdom. We see Joseph’s demonstration of wisdom, which is essential if you are going to lead effectively. Joseph’s family was settled in the land of Goshen and had all the food they needed. But that was not the same case for all of Egypt. The people were still languishing in this famine, so Joseph had to bring a solution to this economic crisis that had engulfed the land. We see how Joseph demonstrates wisdom beginning in verse 13.

In his wisdom, Joseph demonstrated initiative. Verse 13 says, “Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.” Remember God had revealed to Joseph through Pharaoh’s dream, “Joseph, there will be seven years in which you will have more grain than you know what to do with in the land of Egypt. But those seven years of harvest will be followed by seven years of famine.” God is the one who gave Joseph the information, but Joseph showed initiative by acting on that information. Joseph took the initiative to say, “You know what? Change is in the air and I better take some definite steps.”

That is what a leader does. If you are a wise leader, you realize that things will not always remain the same. Change is coming, and you need to prepare your organization to meet that challenge of change. If you’re a leader of a business, of a church, or of your family, you better be able to see more, you better be able to see farther, and you better be able to see before other people see. And by the way, the larger the organization you are leading, the more important it is for you to see farther, more, and before others see.

That’s what Joseph did. He knew change was coming–the famine was coming–and so he said, “During these years of plenty, let’s store 20 percent of the grain and save it for the future seven years of famine.” I’m sure he caught some flak for that. I’m sure during those seven plentiful years people said to Joseph, “Why are we saving up grain, Joseph? We have more grain than we know what to do with. Let’s enjoy it and party. Let the good times roll. Let’s just leave the future in God’s hands.” No, a wise leader can’t afford to do that. By the way, if you are going to show leadership in an organization, prepare to be criticized for it. People will say to you, “Chill out. Why are you doing this? We don’t need to do that right now. Let’s think about it.” Or if you are a leader in church, they will say, “Let’s pray about it longer. Let’s don’t move that quickly right now.” But a leader is one who looks to the future and takes initiative.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Lessons in Leadership” 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.

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