In Genesis 45 we read about Joseph as he revealed his identity to his brothers. His brothers had betrayed him and sold him into slavery at age 17. Rather than wallow in the unfair lot that life had dealt him and the horrible treatment by his brothers - rather than act like victim - he selflessly worked hard on behalf of his master, Potipher. But 11 years and several promotions into his time with Potipher, he was again betrayed, and for 2 years he lived in the dungeon, even though he had done nothing wrong.
Can you imagine? He could’ve stomped his feet and insisted that he was the child of a very wealthy businessman, which was true, and demanded to be released. But again, he served, even in the dungeon.
Finally at age 30 he was released to Pharaoh, and promoted to head of the entire nation of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. At that point he could’ve insisted that Pharaoh release him to have vengeance on his brothers. But once again, he stayed and he served.
When his brothers came begging for help, he then could have rejected them and told them it was their just punishment - and he would’ve been right! His response to them is so beautiful and selfless. You can tell that he had been thinking it over for many years.
“Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life!” (Genesis 45:5, NIV)
He had clearly come to terms long before with the fact that God had allowed him to be sold into slavery to bring about His purposes, and he was ok with that. How could he be ok with that? Because he had laid aside his identity, and had become a selfless servant - first of God, then of Potipher, next of Pharaoh, and ultimately of his family, including his brothers. Beautiful!
In II Kings 4 we see another example of selfless faith in the Shunammite woman. I love this story! The first thing she did was offer to feed the prophet Elisha and his servant whenever they were in town. Then in verse 10 we read that she actually built an entire room onto her house for Elisha to stay in when he passed through town! Talk about a selfless act!
What would cause her to do this? Well, it’s not because she wanted something from him. He offered to help her out by dropping a good word about her to the king, and she refused. She obviously was not serving Elisha for herself - she was selflessly serving a man she recognized as a man of God.
Elisha and God did reward her, however. She gave birth toa son, though her husband was very old. Then one day that son suddenly became ill and died. Did she then stomp her feet and curse God and Elisha? Did she say, “After everything I have done for you, this is the treatment I get?” Nope. She told her husband to saddle a donkey and in faith she said, “It is well.” Even when she was seen far off by Elisha, and he knew something was wrong, her response to Elisha’s servant when he inquired whether everything was ok was, “It is well.”
What on earth? How could that be her answer? All was NOT well! But her answer was one of selfless faith. She knew who she was as a child of God and a servant of the Lord and of this holy man. And she knew that it would be alright. She was correct, and her son received his life again. Another beautiful example of selfless faith!