Sex. Power. Intrigue. Today’s lectionary reading, the story about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:1-23), is a brilliant reminder of why we need to teach Bible stories to our youth — and soak them up them ourselves. Joseph could have so easily sold his soul when Potiphar’s wife reached for him, trying to lure him to her bed. And it wasn’t just one invitation; there were several.

Would anyone have been the wiser? All was dangled in front of Joseph: power, intimacy, lust. It reminds us of Jesus on the top of the temple with Satan, faced with a huge choice between temptation and restraint.

Like Jesus, Joseph walked away. Actually, he fled. What a great lesson about morality, especially for our boys and young men in this confusing world, with all its messages about instant gratification and shallow sexual norms. Even though Joseph paid for his decision with a prison term, his conscience was clear. He kept his boundaries. And if he hadn’t landed in jail and started interpreting dreams, chances are that our biblical story would have turned out quite differently.

Joseph chose life; he acted nobly and did the right thing. Good job, Joseph!