“And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, ‘Why do you look so sad today?’”
We cannot be sure how much time Joseph spent in prison. We know it would have taken some time to prove himself trustworthy enough to be placed in a position of authority, and we know that after the events recorded here, he remained incarcerated for another two years. While we cannot know how long his sentence lasted, we do know what led to his deliverance; faithfully interpreting the dream of the chief butler was the key to his release. What strikes me about the story is what led to interpreting that dream in the first place. We read that Joseph, a wrongly imprisoned man, noticed that others around him were sad. The fact that his eyes were open to notice the needs of others, opened doors of ministry, and ultimately set him free from his own bondage.
We all have good reason to focus on ourselves, and could even justify neglecting others because our life’s situations have become so pressing. However, it is when we take our eyes off ourselves and our own problems, and fix them upon others, that we will not only find ample opportunities to serve, but these opportunities will ultimately lead to our own freedom. The life of self-sacrifice modeled by Jesus, and taught to the disciples, actually leads to a life of freedom and of great spiritual reward.
Take some time today to notice the needs of others around you, and prayerfully consider how God may want to use you to help others.