Promotion Comes from God
Study No. 51
Psalm 75:6-7 is a scripture I have wept many tears over. It says "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another."
In life, there are often grave inequalities. Sometimes, the wicked prosper, while the righteous are impoverished. But not always. There is no clear correlation between success and obedience to God, between prosperity and truth. As Solomon observed, "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all" Ecclesiastes 9:11.
In times of my life when I have been down and out (and havenít we all had such times?), I read Psalm 75:6-7, shed a tear of regret over my situation, and hope for a better day. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall [in due time] lift you up" James 4:10. Godís Word does not say when He will do this promoting, this lifting up. Abraham waited faithfully for years, dying in faith like so many others. Many will have to wait until the resurrection for God to finally exalt them, to lift them up with a real promotion.
Cheap Human Promotions
So many people are looking for a human promotion. They want to bask in the approval of others. Haman was like that. He wanted the accolades of other human beings, but was mortified when Mordecai received honor, and not himself. When someone else is promoted, there is a natural human tendency to say to oneself, "What about me? What do I get?" When a sought after promotion is obtained, it often results in lack of full satisfaction. Human promotions are cheap and vain.
The business world is full of competition, politics and striving after the vanity of promotions. I have tasted this sort of thing personally, and I would like to relate what I have learned. Some years ago, I worked as an accountant for a large corporate conglomerate. I tried to avoid politics, not striving after promotions with a show and pretense. To be honest, however, I did earnestly desire promotions that have eluded me over the years. Every promotion I have received has been the result of what I feel is Godís divine intervention.
A very fine Christian lady whom I respect very much advised me to apply at this Company. As first there were no openings. Then, I was told to go the corporate headquarters and apply there. There was no success at first. Then suddenly I was called back in for a second interview. A man was retiring and I was hired to take his place. In six months, I was transferred to a key position under a hard driving manager who later became company controller. While financial people in other areas languished under very poor management, I flourished.
Then, there was the key tip. A new coal mining division was being formed. An astute older fellow worker who had taken a liking to me, advised me to apply for a position with the new subsidiary.
I was accepted and promoted to be on the ground floor of what was soon to become a large and fast growing entity. With all of this, you might well suppose that I had stars in my eyes and thought I was on the "fast track."
It didnít work out that way. It was five years before a substantial promotion came my way. Time after time I was passed over for promotion, as the Company either hired from the outside or advanced someone else. Three times I tried to get the job of Accounting Supervisor. It was humiliating to train my supervisors time and again to become knowledgeable about tasks I previously had mastered.
No Hope in Sight
Not only did promotion not come from the east or any other direction, but worse still, my job along with most others were to be moved to Wyoming, and if I did not accept I would be out of work in a difficult time of recession and high unemployment. A "lateral move" to Wyoming was unacceptable because of much more expensive housing and utilities, among other things.
I applied for this supervisorís job for the fourth time, but was told they werenít interested in me. The new controller appeared to have a dislike for me.
A "whiz kid" from an oil company was hired for the Supervisorís job. Another individual was hired to replace me in Wyoming. I was to train her before being released with severance pay. I was told that another, lesser position in the company might be created for me. It might involve a cut in pay. However, due to the economic downturn, cutbacks prevented this position from being approved. I had committed the gravest corporate sin in refusing to accept a job offer at another regional office in Cincinnati, Ohio. There were too many factors against it.
My supervisor took me out to lunch and explained the cold fact to me: Now I would never be promoted in the company because of two key reasons: (1) I did not have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. This was not a requirement in private industry but our companyís management tended to staff high level financial positions almost exclusively with CPAís. I did not even have a college degree in accounting, much less a CPA license. (2) It was perceived that I was not a good supervisor. "Bad press" had stereotyped me as a technical type, unable to the see the "big picture" required to supervise others. These two hindrances were not news to me. I had struggled to overcome them and compensate for them for years. It didnít seem possible to ever break the barrier.
Being close to facing financial hardship, there could have been the tendency for me to lapse into mental depression. Indeed, when people are out of work, it affects their personality, their marriages, their whole being. That is why severe economic conditions nation-wide are called depressions. When someone else is out of work, itís a "recession"; but when you face being out of work, itís a "depression." Stories of businessmen jumping out of windows in the 1929 stock collapse are sadly true.
It was only by Godís grace and help that I did not give up all hope. I prayed about this often and resolved to leave the whole matter in the Eternalís hands. Each day was a challenge to remain composed and cheerful. Maybe I would have to wait until the resurrection for better times.
From Out of the Blue
Then, an unseen hand seemed to take control of the situation, doing what my puny efforts were incapable of accomplishing.
The "whiz kid" they hired for the Supervisorís job just never showed up. He accepted a better job back in the oil business. Shortly thereafter, I was shocked when the Supervisorís job was offered to me. I could not believe my ears. "Why did you change your mind?" I asked. In effect, I was told, "We recognize your wealth of knowledge of accounting systems and processes and vast improvement in dealing with other people. We need your expertise."
A substantial raise, relocation assistance to Wyoming, and other benefits were offered. I would be supervising an expanded department of eight to ten professional accountants, three of whom were CPAís. That certificate I did not even have myself!
I am solidly convinced that my promotion did not come from the direction of my own efforts. It came from the Almighty God. I give Him all the praise and credit. But after all, this is merely a physical thing. It should teach me some spiritual lessons.
How many years have you striven for Godís Kingdom? The ultimate promotion of all is to hear the words,
I am pleased to announce the promotion of _____________ _____________ to King and Priest in my Kingdom. His promotion is effective immediately and he will report directly to me. Because he has overcome and kept my words faithfully to the end, I will give him power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron. I say to him, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful in a very little have thou authority over ten cities. Enter into the joy of the Lord!' ____________ will assist me in the establishment of my kingdom. Holy angels and all the righteous ones, please join me in congratulating ___________, and supporting him in his new position.
Well, that day is not here, yet. Out of the experiences relating to my promotion, I have gained several insights, which should help me to keep that goal of spiritual promotion in mind.
(1) I am rejoice over this physical promotion. Yet, I realize that the ultimate spiritual promotion will still take an immense amount of effort on my part, and in the final analysis will only be accomplished with Godís hands, not mine.
(2) I sympathize and feel deeply for those, who through no fault of their own, are put out of work due to economic situations out of their control. I know the times will get much worse before Christ returns. "Thy kingdom come" is my daily prayer.
(3) God has a way of intervening at the last moment, when all hope is lost, when all human efforts have proven fruitless, when in our helplessness we cry out to Him. It seems like we need these experiences to get rid of our human vanity. The Eternal says of us His people: "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early" Hosea 5:15.
(4) Strangely, the only way to be successful is to fail, learn from repeated failures, and keep trying. The more times you fail and get up again, the more successful you will be. "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief" Proverbs 24:16.
(5) No one will ever be able to say "I deserve to be in Godís kingdom. I am qualified." It is only by the grace of God that anyone will be there. May we all learn that promotion comes from God ALONE! W
Helping the Poor
"Do you know of any churches of God that are doing missionary work? . . . I have pen pal friends in the Philippines that want Bible study aids and tapes. I have a friend in Africa that wants Bibles, Books, Booklets, etc." D.D., Washington
ANSWER: A number of "Third World" Sabbath keepers, especially from Nigeria, Africa, have in recent years received free Bibles and articles from Giving & Sharing. We receive dozens of letters from "poor" Sabbath keepers asking for free Bibles. It is impossible to fill all requests. Due to corrupt governments and unsettled conditions, sometimes these parcels of books take 6 months to a year to arrive. Sometimes half the parcels never arrive at their intended destination at all. Recently we saw a newspaper article showing how that "free" Bibles sent to Asian Third World countries ended up shredded and made into firecrackers. All of this has soured us on responding to such requests, let alone soliciting them, which we have never done.
We are turned off by the continual "give me" attitude. Some expect to receive free items costing lots of money. Who knows if these people take the books and sell them at a profit? Do you think I am distrustful of people for no reason? I have talked to Sabbath keeping missionaries who have been to Africa. There is gross corruption there. Some individuals begging for help are unscrupulous. We must be careful.
We continue to carefully respond to individual requests for free articles and Bibles. If anyone has old Bibles and religious books not being used, we ask you send them to us and we will run the risk of getting them through to Third World Sabbath keepers.
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