Our society is constantly looking for promotion, and it’s ingrained in us simply by the structuring of business. Our greed also plays a part… People are always looking to climb the corporate ladder, and if there isn’t a corporate ladder, we just want a raise because we think we’re awesome and we deserve it.
Reading Proverbs today the Lord really brought something to my attention. Proverbs 22:11 says, “He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” Later in the chapter, verse 29 says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” These two sayings from King Solomon give us keys to promotion.
Looking first at verse 29, we can understand that if we are good at what we do it will naturally lead to superiors noticing. God wants us to be excellent at our jobs, and to honor Him by striving for excellence. In Biblical times men viewed their jobs as literal worship to the Lord. He created us to work and steward the world He breathed into existence. So when we are operating in what the Father designed us to do, it is giving praise to the One who made us. Be skilled in your work!
Verse 11 tells us that if we want to be friends of those who are over us our motives must be pure. Trying to be nice to your boss in hopes they will give you a raise is not a good intention. And your pursuit of more money is not a great motivation (see Luke 16:13). The driving force in our hearts should be excellence in all. If the Lord is the basis on which we work, everything else will fall into place.
Another place in Proverbs (23:1-2) says that when we are in the presence of those in authority we should take a look around at the things in front of us. Upon viewing their life and what they have, Solomon says, “put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” If you start coveting a promoted life, ask God, “Why?” What is in you that doesn’t allow contentment with where the Lord has you? In any stage of a promotion God is bringing you through, your heart and motives need to remain pure.
I’m reminded of the book From Good to Great by Jim Collins. In his research of successful companies, he found that the most successful businesses had CEOs that were promoted from within the company. Furthermore, those promoted were people that were not seeking promotion. But their skill set, heart, and attitude put them on the radar of people in charge. And when the time was right, they were given great favor.
Simply put, God is reminding me to stop seeking promotion and start seeking Him alone. If our hearts are to pursue Christ and excellence in who He made us, the Lord will expand our favor and promotions will follow.