Who Would Jesus Promote?
I once worked for a company when one of the long-serving mid-level managers retired. His departure was missed, but almost immediately, everyone began to speculate on his replacement.
I loved that vacant office. I longed for it, like a forbidden fruit. Surrounded by windows on two sides facing the mountains, the subdued lighting gave it an almost magical draw. It was like a secret, sacred place that beckoned me.
Whenever I walked by, I tried not to look in, but the pull was just too much. Once, I imagined a beam of light shining down on the empty chair with mist gently rolling along the carpeted floor. The emotional appeal bordered on fantasy.
I wasn’t alone. Nearly every person in that office had their sights on the position and the status that it would bring. There was the marked parking spot, the dedicated secretary, the Blackberry, and of course, the twenty percent pay raise.
I thought I was the best candidate for the job. And so did everyone else.
We talked about the unnamed successor amongst ourselves, but only in hushed tones. I was careful not be presumptuous, softly smiling at would-be applicants, assuring them that they too had a great shot. But deep down inside, there was no such gracious spirit.
I didn’t get the job. In fact, none of us did. The boss needed new blood and selected an outsider.
I was disappointed. Why didn’t God honor me with that job?
Jesus in charge
Jesus is often hypothetically placed in the modern world allowing us to speculate what He would do. Some have asked what kind of car Jesus would drive, how he would vote, or if He would eat bagels. Some of these are blasphemous in nature, but others are provocative.
We ought to wonder how He would react in certain circumstances so that we can take His lead. That’s why I wonder, just who would Jesus promote?
The answer to this question isn't so elusive.
Look at the Sons of Thunder, James and John. We’re told that their mother came to Jesus with her own request for a promotion. "Let one of them sit at Your right and the other at your left in glory."
That’s bold stuff coming from a mother who was obviously proud of her boys. Her request caused uproar among the others. But Jesus refused her request, because one of those seats was already taken. Perhaps a better lesson would have been to model humility to her sons.
I have to face my own music. When I wanted that promotion, was it for the right reason? Did pride, power, money or status enter into my mind?
Jesus proceeded to tell the others this: "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all."
Humility is a backward way into a job—servanthood, service, and picking up the rear go against the current corporate structure. Can this servanthood principle really work today?