Weekly Sabbath Survey
Self Promotion — 10-4-2014
In today’s business world, and even in social settings, networking is a must. It is the modern way of self-promotion. In days gone by, it was considered egotistical to toot your own horn. Bragging on Facebook about one’s various accomplishments, trying to elbow our way into the Elite Social Club, would have been blunders. But now, this is essential in business, accepted in the social arena, and even at church gatherings. “Working the room” is standard procedure. People are exchanging business cards and making acquaintances that might help them make money or move up the ladder a rung or two.
The fallacy that drives self-promotion of every kind is that we can manipulate and control our own lives. Most of the time, we can’t. Sometimes it appears to work for those who are planning their own lives, rather than asking God what comes next. But there are variables in life that God can see coming, but we cannot. Only when we trust Him completely can we know that kind of divine care and protection over us.
In the New Testament we hear two hand-picked followers of Jesus asking Him if they can sit on either side of Him when He comes into His Kingdom. The Old Testament is full of people who took a stab at self-promotion and failed miserably. Nadab and Abihu watched their daddy Aaron doing the High Priest thing, and figured they could do as good as he did. So without any input from Aaron, they went in to the Lord’s presence to give a sacrifice. Nephew Lot chose the best part of the land for himself, seemingly putting one over on his Uncle Abe. He set up his tents within sight of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. King David’s spoiled rotten son Absalom challenged the royal status quo in his father’s old age. He gathered up a following of strong men to fight David’s army for rights to the throne. All of the people in these stories came to a bad end (death) because of self-promotion.
So here we are now in the Church Age, 21st Century, still jostling to make sure we get to our favorite pew before visitors get it. Or, we lobby among the leaders hoping for a teaching position or committee chair, or deacon appointment. Even our efforts at being promoted at work are sometimes clothed in a failure to trust God and His timing. There may be a reason why your promotion is delayed, something you don’t know but God does. And yet we are banging on heaven’s door in prayer for answers as to why we are not blessed by more recognition or better pay.
Of all the unattractive and not-of-God traits in Christendom, this one of self-promotion takes the prize. It is among other things, very dangerous as many Bible stories illustrate for us. In the Bible people actually killed their own relatives, even little children and babies—to further themselves, to fill their lust for power.
Put simply, we were not created to promote ourselves. We were made to cooperate with our Creator in serving His purposes. Our places and positions in life are to be decided and given by Him. This is not to say we should be completely passive about it. We should, of course, pursue our God-given callings and accept opportunities He opens for us, always realizing that in Him our gift makes room for us without the need to manipulate the situation to our advantage. We must proceed with caution and prayer in humility, trusting Him for every outcome in our lives. We must believe He will promote us at the right time, as we accept that He is the One who ordains it, anoints it, and blesses it.
How often we hear that the Lord opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors no one can open. But if we really believe that, we should stop blaming other people, or our circumstances, or our unlucky stars when life doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to.
Jesus said, Be careful to live in me and let me live in you. A branch cannot produce fruit when it is severed from the vine. I am the Vine, you are the branches. Those who live in me and I in them, will be successful in what they do. For apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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