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Yeodikitekon Igani

The stories of Rebekah (Gen. 24:10-26), and Joseph (Gen. 39:1-10), are remarkable examples of service because they show how one’s state of mind can influence the nature and quality of service rendered.

Gen. 24:15-16 informs us that Rebekah was from an affluent family (v.25), conducted herself in purity, and was very beautiful to behold. Yet, none of these attributes gave her an air of puffiness around her, instead, in all humility, she identified an opportunity to serve Abraham’s servant, and stepped into it.

Likewise, Joseph on the other hand, though a slave in his master’s house, derived his identity from his relationship with God (Gen. 39:2-3), and this influenced and dictated the nature and quality of his service. Being that, he chose to serve as one who ministered directly to God (v. 4-5), he remained productive in his affairs, which in turn earned him favour before his master, and a consequent promotion to the highest office.

Though Rebekah was under no obligation to attend to the servant at the well, of her own freewill, on being asked, she chose to oblige his request (v.18), and was proactive enough to supply necessary and needed provision for his company and animals (v. 19-20), not minding that he had not outrightly stated that such provisions were equally needed. Also, when he requested accommodation and lodging for himself and his men (v.23), she created another opportunity to serve by drawing on the wealth of resources that were available at her family’s disposal (v.24-25). She understood that true abundance was not about accumulation, but it ought to be deployed as a tool for service.

Unlike Rebekah however, Joseph as a slave in his master’s house (Gen. 39:1), was duty bound to fulfill his duties to his master, irrespective of prevailing conditions. Yet, in spite of his lowly estate, he chose to operate in excellence because honouring God through service, was of greater importance to him than the capacity he was called to serve in (v.2). He never considered his official ranking, and unlimited access (v. 4-6) as avenues to abuse his privileges. But rather, chose to operate within the confines of established boundaries, and would not go beyond them (v.8-9) because, beyond serving his master, his priority was to honour God with his service.

He understood that he operated within a representative capacity, and was called to magnify the God who had graced him with the abilities he had, the same one who made his service effective (v.2-3).

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