Photo: Girl raking leaves
I’ve gone through seasons in my life when I felt like I could have danced naked on a table whilst waving a red flag, and no one would have noticed. These were the times when clerks asked the person standing behind me in line if they could help her. I’ve even had people ask if I was at a certain event when I had been one of the performers on stage, then they go on to tell me about the great song they heard (which I sang.)
In times like this, these times of hiddenness (aka chopped liver days), we see promotions go to less qualified people, we are asked to sign birthday cards for others –on our birthday (but don’t get one ourselves), we sit in meetings while others receive credit for our ideas and watch family drive past us as we struggle home with bags of groceries.
I’ve learned in times like these that if I complain to the Lord, (“What am I? Chopped liver?”) he is likely to say, “Hey you! Eyes here! I am the only one you need to be looking to for approval right now.”
This is a strange verse:
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5,6)
He will lift me high up on a rock and hide me?
Yes, we can be hidden in plain sight sometimes. It can feel like an invisibility cloak (for our good deeds -not for hiding sin!).
Sometimes we are set up high enough to take us out of the way of attacks of accusers and critics. They can see us but they can’t bring us down.
Sometimes we are concealed in tents to protect us from our own egos.
I think these times are about developing virtue, excellence and faithfulness.
Jesus said this in a story he told about money and responsibility: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:21)
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10)
In the Psalm that encourages us to forsake fretting when others seem to be getting ahead we read, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3)
In God’s hiring system the best candidates for positions of great responsibility are those who have proven themselves faithful by serving him reliably in seemingly small things without rewards or accolades -sometimes for a very long time.
But when he promotes, he promotes.
“The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’
That’s the equivalent of being promoted from a stock boy who tends the shelves well to vice president in charge of marketing. It’s like moving from the position of mother of four on a tight budget to finance minister for the province.
Self-promotion is not nearly as effective as God-promotion.
In his time.