The people came to Joseph with their hands empty and open, and he responded by upholding their dignity and treating them with respect. And keep in mind, he had everything, but they had nothing. “Our money is gone! Our food is gone!” They were completely at Joseph’s mercy.
He didn’t shrug his shoulders and give them a handout. He didn’t put them on welfare. Instead, he told them to bring him what they had—their livestock—and in exchange he would give them food.
A year later, with the famine still going strong, all of their livestock were gone, and they were back on their knees with their hands empty and open, saying, “Help us, Joseph. What do we do now? Buy our land for food. Buy us—we will serve Pharaoh. Only help us get through these awful years.” In their desperation, they put themselves entirely at Joseph’s mercy.
What is striking is that Joseph did not abuse that power—not once! God had raised him up from slavery, and he never forgot how marvelous a deliverance that was. To whom much has been given, much is required.
Arthur Gordon, writing for a national periodical, says this about the importance of personal integrity:
Year after year businessmen study college records, screen applicants, and offer special inducement to proven people. What are they after, really? Brains? Energy? Know-how? These things are desirable, sure. But they will carry a person only so far. If he is to move to the top and be entrusted with command decisions, there must be a plus factor, something that takes mere ability and doubles or trebles its effectiveness. To describe this magic characteristic there is only one word: integrity.1
Integrity keeps your eyes on your own paper during the test. Integrity makes you record and submit only true figures on your expense account. Integrity keeps your personal life pure and straight. Integrity restrains us from taking unfair advantage of others.