Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams—seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of famine—but perhaps more importantly, he was able to give good advice:
Let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.Genesis 41:33-36
No wonder both Potiphar and the keeper of the prison had discovered that whatever Joseph did, “the Lord made it to prosper” (Genesis 39:3, 23). He had learned good management principles and applied them even as a slave and as a prisoner.
Pharaoh assigned Joseph to lead this program, and it was successful. Seven years later, “the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread” (Genesis 41:54).
Joseph’s plan required significant self-discipline during the years of plenty. Bishop W. Christopher Waddell observed:
When considering the principle of preparedness, we can look back to Joseph in Egypt for inspiration. Knowing what would happen would not have been sufficient to carry them through the “lean” years without a degree of sacrifice during the years of abundance. Rather than consume all that Pharaoh’s subjects could produce, limits were established and followed, providing sufficient for their immediate, as well as their future, needs. It was not enough to know that challenging times would come. They had to act, and because of their effort, “there was bread.”“There Was Bread,” General Conference, October 2020
Bishop Waddell encouraged us to apply these principles in two areas: financial management and home storage. Financial management includes paying tithing, eliminating debt, living within a budget, and saving for the future. Home storage includes gathering food, water, and other necessities to be prepared in the event of an emergency. In both of these areas, sustained effort over time is necessary. Bishop Waddell reminded us of two principles from the Book of Mormon:
- “All these things [should be] done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27).
- “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
Bishop Waddell concluded, “The Lord does not expect us to do more than we can do, but He does expect us to do what we can do, when we can do it.”
Today, I will review our family’s financial and home storage plans and recommit to “small and simple” actions we can take now to improve our preparedness for more difficult times.