There is an old and admittedly cynical saying that “no good deed goes unpunished.” Though it is certainly not absolute truth (many good deeds certainly are rewarded), it certainly feels true sometimes.
Such a thought may have entered Joseph’s mind during his 13 years of trials and hardships, from the Pit to Potiphar to Prison and finally to Pharaoh’s throne. Had Joseph done wrong by being the good son in a family of reprobates? No, but his good deeds led him to be betrayed by his brethren and sold into slavery.
Had Joseph done wrong when he steadfastly refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife? No – but his refusal led to a false charge of attempted rape and a prison sentence.
Did Joseph do wrong when he cared about the butler and sought to encourage him by interpreting his dream? No, but the butler forgot his promise for twenty four more months. Joseph may have scratched 728 more marks on his cell wall, one for each day from the time that the butler forgot him to the day that he was suddenly called to Pharaoh’s office. The next day, he was Vice Pharaoh over all Egypt!
David did right, and behaved prudently (1 Sam 18:14) – and yet was hated by jealous Saul, who even sought to have him murdered. Seven years of David’s life were spent in the wilderness, as a fugitive, simply because he had done right. Twice, he could have killed Saul and refused to do so. Doing right may have prolonged his situation – but God worked it out for the best in the end.
Jesus went about doing good – but people still hated Him without a cause (Acts 10:38; John 15:25). He healed the sick, touched the lepers, gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, fed the hungry, and was perfect in every way – and still, multitudes turned their backs and walked away from Him (John 6:66). In the end, the crowd cried, “Crucify Him!” Even Pilate was shocked, demanding, “Why? What evil hath He done?” (Lk. 23:22). His life of doing good was met with unreasonable hatred and the cruelty of the cross.
Paul did good by coming to Galatia to preach the gospel of Christ, which resulted in many being saved and New Testament churches being established. In his absence, however, false teachers crept in and turned the churches away from the true gospel to “another gospel, which is not another,” a perverted gospel with no power to save (Gal. 1:6-8). Some who had treated him as an angel from heaven later treated him as their enemy (Gal. 4:13-16).
It is our duty to do right, regardless of the consequences. No matter how things turn out, it is always right to do right. When facing a major decision, do the right thing. If the consequences are not what you would have chosen, it was still right to do right. If your decision was right, stand by it.
It is naive and a little childish for us to believe that in this old sinful world right decisions will always have right consequences. Joseph did right and went to prison. David did right and was hunted like an animal. Jesus did right and went to the cross. Paul did right and was rejected by churches that he had started! Still – it is always right to do right!
Live long enough and you may be mistreated by those that you helped the most. Someone will return evil for the good that you have done to them. Friends may become enemies, and love may turn to bitterness or hatred. This causes some to be discouraged, others to become bitter, some to quit. Still – it is always right to do right, no matter the consequences!
So what do we do? We put it in the hands of God. Joseph did. David did. The Lord Jesus did. Paul did. The last chapters haven’t been written yet. Joseph ended up on top. David ended up the king of Israel. Jesus rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God the Father. Paul kept on preaching and rejoicing and trusting God, with countless people getting saved through his ministry.
Do right and leave the consequences in the hands of God!
And, by the way, remember these promises:
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Galatians 6:7-10 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (9) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (10) As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Thank you for reading. God bless.