There is much we can learn from the life of Joseph. Let’s hit on some lesser covered generosity lessons.
In Genesis 45, we find Joseph, a powerful ruler in Egypt, asking to be alone with his brothers. The last time Joseph saw his brothers, they sold him into slavery. At this point in the story, Joseph’s identity is unknown to his brothers. They only knew the man in front of them as a powerful Egyptian ruler. Soon after Joseph is left alone with his brothers, he reveals his identity and is lavishly generous to them.
In this moment, God uses Joseph to teach us some lessons about generosity.
Lesson #1: Wise stewardship leads to future generosity.
Through a dream, God revealed that, after a season of abundance, a famine would strike the area (Genesis 41). In response, Joseph had the Egyptians save during the season of abundance. This wise stewardship decision allowed Egypt to have provisions during the famine. The decision also gave Joseph the opportunity to bless his brothers. Wise stewardship leads to future generosity.
Lesson #2: Biblical generosity compels us to give to the underserving.
Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. One can only imagine the pain this caused Joseph. The world would not fault Joseph for withholding good from his brothers. But Joseph did not follow the world. He followed a lavishly generous God. And as a recipient of undeserving generosity, he gives to the undeserving. This is what biblical generosity compels us to do.
Lesson #3: God uses our generosity in ways we could never fathom.
Joseph’s generosity sustains his family. But the impact of his generosity does not end there. His generosity did not just sustain his immediate family, his generosity sustained a nation and a lineage from which Jesus would come. You see, our God is a God of multiplication. He takes our generosity and multiplies its impact in ways we could never fathom. Joseph certainly did not know the ultimate impact of his generosity. And when we give, we have no idea how God will use the gift to further His Kingdom.
God teaches us and our churches some important generosity lessons through the life of Joseph. Set yourself up for future generosity by wisely stewarding your resources today. We are recipients of underserving generosity, so let us give to the undeserving. And we can trust that our God will use the gifts we give in unfathomable ways.
This article was originally published by Art Rainer on his website. Art Rainer is a Vice President at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. He writes widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity.