I sat at the stop sign for a few extra minutes trying to settle myself down. No one was behind me so it was not a problem as I left the State Park complex where we had been having our annual meeting. I felt dumbstruck over the announcement that our Vice President had made at lunch. He had promoted a man over the department whom we all knew was incompetent – a glitzy façade with no substance.
As I sat there trying to make sense out of it the Lord spoke a sentence into my heart that I will never forget. He said simply; “It’s not so in the spiritual kingdom.” Somehow, even though it was just the one sentence I knew exactly all that the Lord meant by that. He was saying that spiritual promotion is not done the same way as earthly promotion. The criteria are far different.
I thought about the way this colleague had sprinted out of the gate from the very beginning of his brief employment with us. He created an immediate stir of approval everywhere in the company. He was attractive, charismatic and had some of the very finest presentation skills I had ever seen. I too had been fooled at first, but had come to see that there was no real management or technical skills behind a fabulous appearance.
The other department members felt the same way, and when the promotion was announced over lunch, we sat in stunned silence. As this man beamed at us, we glanced sideways at each other in disbelief. No congratulations were offered. Now here I sat at a stop sign shaking my head. I knew God had spoken to me for a reason. He was not telling me something about this man, but about myself. Did I want to learn about true spiritual promotion?
When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at his last supper he said: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15). Was I willing to be a servant to this man and work toward his success with the company? Was I willing to put aside my pride and offer him my congratulations on his promotion?
I really struggled with myself all weekend, but Monday morning finally came. I knew what I had to do if I wanted God’s promotion in my life. I took a deep breath — walked into his office — and put out my hand.