I absolutely love the story of Joseph in the Hebrew Bible. This cycle of well-crafted stories, found in Genesis 37-50, close out the tales of legacy that is the heartbeat of Genesis. The account of Joseph and his family frame how the children of Israel came to be residents of Egypt and sets up the story of their miraculous exodus which is at the center of Jewish legacy to this day.
At the core of our culture, at The Signatry, is a commitment to listen to a person’s story, and then serve them within their story. When we serve others within their story, we are actually serving them within the much larger redemptive story of God and the role He calls them to play. This is exactly what we see played out through the life of Joseph.
The story begins with some dysfunctional family dynamics, including the lack of parity by Jacob towards his sons. We soon find Joseph in Egypt where he is sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. It was within Potiphar’s story that Joseph would serve. God blesses him with great success, and Potiphar eventually entrusts Joseph with his entire household, all of his possessions and agricultural ventures. Everything went extremely well for Joseph as he served Potiphar right up until he was framed and thrown into prison. While in prison, Joseph would find himself serving Pharaoh’s cupbearer and chief baker within their own stories, this would, in turn, bring Joseph into the direct service of Pharaoh.
Joseph was given the opportunity to listen to the dreams and concerns of Pharaoh and serve within Pharaoh’s story. Pharaoh would make this foreign Hebrew slave and ex-convict the “vizier” of Egypt.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you
in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”
Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand
and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in
fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck.
God used Joseph’s ability to listen and serve within the stories of others, to position him next to the most powerful man of his day. This platform would later prove to be the salvation of his father Jacob’s legacy … his descendants.
The archaeologist in me must make mention of a fascinating discovery which occurred in 1987. That year, a family tomb was excavated in Egypt which contained a man, his wife, and one son. Inscriptions in the tomb revealed the many titles of this highly empowered and positioned man, titles like “vizier” and “chief of the entire land” were bestowed on him. We know from the man’s name that he was of Semitic descent, for his name was Abdiel which in Hebrew means “servant of God”. I bring this up simply to illustrate how another “servant of God” was used to serve the Pharaoh Akhenaten within his own story, and because it is an interesting parallel to the account of Joseph.
At the core of our culture, The Signatry is committed to listening to a person’s story and then serving them within their story. When we serve others within their story, we are in fact serving them within the much larger story of God … and that makes us all servants of God.