As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, "This is the way your servant treated me," his anger was kindled. And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.
Losing his good reputation and being thrown in prison was certainly Joseph's worst hardship. What disgraceful wages he received for his years of faithful service! His impeccable character and hard work were rewarded with punishment and a ruined reputation. We serve, teach, counsel, comfort, and do what God tells us to do. For the most part, we do this for undeserving people from whom we get nothing in return except hatred, envy, and suffering. It seems that our lives are wasted on being kind to people who don't appreciate it.
Don't ever expect the world to acknowledge or reward your faithfulness and hard work. The opposite often happens, as Joseph's life shows. Therefore, make sure that you direct your service and life elsewhere. Don't look for favor and kindness from the world. Its favor can quickly turn into furious anger.
If you are called as a pastor or teacher, or if you are in some other position, set this goal for yourself: I will do my job faithfully without expecting any reward from the people I serve. I won't assume that they will be grateful to me. Rather, I will bless others the same way my heavenly Father hands out his blessings. He gives money, talents, peace, and health even to the most ungrateful and evil people. I will remember Christ's command, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). This means that we must serve people who are wicked, undeserving, and ungrateful. A few will acknowledge our service and thank us. But the others might even threaten our lives. Joseph's example shows us what reward we can expect from the world for even the greatest of kindness--being tied up and thrown in prison.
Excerpt from Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther, edited by James C. Galvin