Self-Promotion for Dummies.
Self-Promotion for Introverts.
Self-Promotion for Women.
Self-Promotion for the Creative Person.
Why Self-Promotion is the Key to Success.
How to Master the Delicate Art of Self-Promotion.
The Art of Tactful Self-Promotion.
How to Self-Promote without being a Jerk.
Some of my favorite titles from a quick ”self-promotion” Amazon search. The world screams at us to promote ourselves. “If you don’t do it, no one else will.” Or, “Success is 1% perspiration and 99% self-promotion.” And, “You need to build a brand; build a following.”
Jesus has a few things to say about self-promotion.
Dining at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, Jesus unassumingly observes the interaction buzzing around him. The vying, the posturing, the subtle and not so subtle strategies. “You see, a great seat can not only reflect social standing but can also create it,” is the unspoken motto they subscribe to.
While the room is still humming with whispers, Jesus begins to speak. Almost immediately the room is silent, all eyes on Him.
Jesus tells some parables related to His observations. One about being a guest, and one about being a host.
To the guests, He tells them not to sit down at a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited, and you will be left in shame to take the only remaining seat – the lowest place. Instead, go and sit in the lowest place. Then the host may say, “Friend, move up higher,” and you will be honored. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The host makes the seating arrangements.
Ouch. Silence. The host, likely smirking, thinking to himself, ”Whew, not about me at least.”
Jesus turns to the host. And to you, don’t just invite friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. Don’t only associate with people who can advance your personal agenda or give you something in return. Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…those who can’t repay you. In this, you will be blessed. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
Humility isn’t a new concept to the Jewish leaders. It is often repeated in their memorized Scriptures. But, “in a world that honors adulation and self-promotion, humility is easy to admire but hard to master.” Indeed.
Why do we so easily jump on board the worldly train when we know better? Just because “everyone else” is doing something doesn’t make it right or necessary. In fact, we are flat out told that we are going to live lives contrary to the culture around us. But yet, we follow. It’s like we just don’t quite believe that God is enough and that our hands and feet doing the work He calls us to do is enough. We just have to boost it a bit; give God a little hand here and there. Make that connection. Sit in that seat. Elevate our name (all for the sake of Jesus, of course, we tell ourselves).
I think of the people I admire the most, starting with Jesus, and they never rely on self-promotion, posturing for seats of honor, or limiting their guest list to those who could elevate their personal status. They are completely confident in the power of God and the mission He has given them. In fact, Jesus even often told people NOT to tell when they had seen His miracles. He kept His eyes up and did His Father’s work. That was enough. Boy, was that ever enough! He waited for God’s timing and God’s elevation of His name.
Bill Johnson says, “Whatever you gain through self-promotion, you’ll have to sustain through self-promotion. When our promotion comes from God, He sustains it.”
God, this is so hard because it is so counter-cultural. Thank you for Your Word that shows us how to live our best lives in You. Give us discernment to know the difference between doing our jobs in the places you have called us and self-promotion. Show us when we are trying to elevate our name instead of Yours. Fill the gaps where we are weak. Let our confidence be in You alone.
(P.S. I’ll be honest, I’m nervous about hitting send on this one. I don’t want to offend anyone. I’ve mentioned before that I have my MBA and I worked in marketing and advertising. I get it. And I know many authors and employees are required to do some promotion. I believe there is a difference in doing our job/working hard and the kind of self-promotion Jesus is talking about. Another reason we have to closely abide in God and feed off of the wisdom and discernment He gives us individually. This is intended to be a self-reflection and not a critique of others. Only God sees our heart. Love y’all!)
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