Not the promotion you were looking for

Imagine walking into the boss’ office with a knot in the pit of your stomach.  You’ve been working hard to impress the boss.  You’ve been thinking what you want to say and why you believe you should get the big promotion. After several anxious minutes in the meeting, you final work up the courage to ask the boss to consider you for the big promotion.  Without hesitation, the boss says, “Oh, I’m so glad you brought it up.  We’ve been looking at you for this promotion for some time.  After great consideration, we decided to offer the job to you.”  As the boss offers you the position, you nearly pass out because you’ve been holding your breath so long.

After discussing all the details of the raise, and the new title that goes along with this promotion, the boss says, “You’ve worked so hard, I’m excited to see you serve even more people in our company.” Did I just hear him say what I thought he said? You think.  I thought the big promotion meant that more people would be serving me- did the boss just say that I would be serving more people?!?!

Obviously, your boss has a Matthew 23:11 understanding of leadership and service.  In this verse, Jesus uses the most exceptional statement to explain what God looks for before he gives the big promotion.   God is looking for humility and selfless service to others.


Humility is becoming a dying quality in our country.  We exalt the people that speak the loudest in the public arena.  We give the most air time to the political candidate who draws the most attention to themselves.  When our country was founded it was considered socially inappropriate to demonstrate that someone was interested in office.  Today, America has to endure almost two years of public self-aggrandizement from most candidates.

Don’t get me started on athletes or artists in our culture.  Often we place these men and women on such favored status that eventually an entertainer starts making statements about domestic issues and an athlete develops a social media following about our foreign policy.  What happened to the superstars who used their influence to exalt the greatness in others rather than draw attention to their own greatness?

Service to others

Teresa of Ávila lived in the mid-1500’s.  She was a student of theology and a courageous leader.  In an age when women had very little rights in society she attempted to influence her church to become more like Jesus’ description of his church in the Bible.  She once said, “Look upon yourself as the servant of all. See Christ in others and you will show them respect and reverence.”

Few people, when they are going into the boss’ office to ask for a promotion, are requesting service to more people.  I suspect, most people, when they are asking for a promotion are thinking about more people serving them.  According to Jesus, greatness comes in a leader’s capacity to give to others rather than in a leader’s capacity to get from others!

Why would a man or woman ask for a promotion if it meant serving others?  Because something has become more important to them than self.  Actually, I should say, someone has become more important to them.  That someone is Jesus.

When Jesus takes first place in a person’s soul they immediately start to put themselves in second place.  Your soul comes to the surface when you’re offered that big promotion.  What are you going to do with this opportunity?  Are you going to serve yourself by it or serve others with it?  Put others first- put yourself second and become the great leader for which God is looking.

Further reading

A modern Harriot Tubman

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