5 min read

Reforming Joseph's Silos

“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:41)

For years, and for good reason, many of us have talked about Joseph’s storehouse, and also of the great wealth transfer prophesied about in Proverbs 13:22 and Isaiah 60. But look at the wealth transfer that happened in the above verse, where Pharoah transferred stewardship over all the land of Egypt directly into Joseph’s hands. And why did he do that? Because of the wisdom and discernment Joseph showed bringing Pharoah a fresh strategy from heaven. He didn’t bring an old, known way as that wouldn’t have shown the fresh wisdom and discernment that were Pharoah’s prerequisites for the transfer of wealth that was on the table. What this should teach us is that we don’t need to copy Joseph’s storehouse itself, rather, we learn his process of fresh wisdom and discernment that led him to that strategic answer, and which started the transfer of wealth into those silos to begin with.

Community Structures

First, I believe the biggest reform is to realize that the structures in which we steward—not just store—provision are not physical structures in their primary design. Rather, I’m convinced that the silos that will provide the greatest multiplication of provision will be community structures made up of people who come together each in their own graces and gifts, each providing, giving, buying, selling and sharing what they have in their hands—because we all have a different strength.

Joseph is one man known for the storehouses and the strategy behind it, but in the days ahead many different people will be needed to bring such a silo strategy to life. Joseph used physical structures to store the resources that were being added and subtracted, but the reformed version will present “family structures” of people who each carry a different piece of the pie. And when two or more come together to give or operate in such a way, such structures don’t live by the world’s rules of addition and subtraction anymore, rather they operate by exponential multiplication.

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked…” (Acts 4:32-34)

Kingdom Math

I like to take the above passage and read it relatively backwards. First, there was no one among them who lacked. Do you know what that means? They eradicated poverty among their kingdom community during a time of great shaking, when there were grave threats and difficulties thrust upon them. It wasn’t just natural resources alone that told the whole story of provision, rather, we’re told that a “great grace” was upon them. There was something supernatural that, when mixed with the natural that they had in their hands, created or provided something greater than what they or the world around them knew. I like to say that “grace becomes our currency.” And how did this great grace come upon them, but through coming together in an uncommon kind of unity that wasn’t self based but upwardly connected. They were in one heart and one soul with one another because each one was operating with what they had in their hands in one heart and one soul with God. Therefore, they were one in Him. That’s where it all began! And that’s how our reformed silos will be built in the times ahead.

See, in the world, 2 + 2 = 4, and so on. But the Bible and the early church show us example of those who came together under a different “Power.” In math we call that an exponent. So, let’s say we take our original 2 resources, and four other people join the equation, now we’re not just looking at addition anymore but instead at 2 to the 4th power; which actually equals 16.

The reformed silos in the days ahead will be built of people and will run off of kingdom math. Our uncommon unity of faith-filled (non-legislated) generosity will be under a Power that creates exponential provision and no reason to fear any lack. You just have to bring what you have in your hands before the Lord, and do so with others of the same heart, though likely very different gifts (thankfully!).

After years of praying into this, we’ve watched this kind of community flourishing before our eyes amidst difficult circumstances in Malawi. Malawi is one of the poorest nations in Africa, but these communities we went to meet are simply called, “God’s Love Groups.” They rely almost entirely on agriculture, but they don’t rely on the weather or the government for their agriculture as most do. Rather, they learned to do “Farming God’s Way,” and to combine it with operating in the kind of community we’re describing. Neighbors and communities come to the Lord and are discipled because they watch God supernaturally provide through their resources and crops. Neighboring communities marvel that these “God’s Love Groups” seem to be operating by different rules.

Empty Vessels

Unity or community is not the only thing with these reformed silos that will be uncommon. The communities that form them will often be made up of uncommon or unlikely people. Over and over throughout scripture God worked and built and multiplied through the unlikely.

“Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—do not gather just a few.” (2 Kings 4:3)

In the story of the widow’s oil, the woman was about to lose her two sons because she couldn’t pay a debt. Elisha asked her a powerful and relevant question, “What do you have in your hands?” She said she had nothing but a jar of oil. So he told her and her sons to go to their neighbors and gather vessels, but not just any vessels, empty ones.

I don’t know about you, but that wouldn’t seem to make much sense? See, if you need something of worth or substance to pay a debt, it would seem like common sense to look for full vessels. But the word of the Lord was to go find empty ones, and not to gather just a few. So, eventually they brought all the empty vessels they could find into a room, closed the door and began to poor from their one jar of oil—the same one that she originally called her “nothing.” And what happened? The oil did not cease, it kept flowing and multiplying, until there were no more empty vessels.

I believe this will be a specialty part of the reformed silos we have in our kingdom future. We will see more multiplication and worth flow out of those the world would deem empty or unlikely when we gather and empower them within our community—or simply within their own. We’ll see miracles happen! The empty or broken will be some of God’s choice building blocks for the reformed silos. Why? Because that’s just the kind of God we roll with.

These kinds of reformed silos are going to start emerging in unlikely places, among unlikely people, at just the right time—and you are a strategic part of building them. Joseph’s new silos are going to combine the best parts of kingdom community, God math and fresh strategies of Spirit directed faith and generosity. We must not live by addition and subtraction anymore when exponential multiplication is right in front of us.