This week we will finish our discussion of self-promotion, attempting to define what it is and if and when it is appropriate. If you missed the previous three entries, you can read them here along with some great comments from you, the reader. Thanks for taking the time to enter into the dialogue, and now let's wrap this up and bring it home.
It seems to me that the star the Magi followed was a promotion of sorts. It appeared to promote or announce the birth and location of Jesus the Messiah. It is fascinating that the only ones who saw it were some men from the East, and even Matthew is the only gospel writer who tells us the story:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:1-2).
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:9-11).
The star was precise and allowed the men to prepare in advance for their journey by bringing gifts. There were many other events that served to promote the birth of Jesus, but this one is special. All the other events came to people who were passive and not involved in obtaining the promotions - the shepherds were at work when the angels appeared and God sovereignly chose Mary and Joseph (they had not been seeking any role in the Christmas story).
But the Magi were special because they were looking for the star and then travelled probably hundreds of miles at great personal expense and discomfort to find what the star was promoting. When I realized that fact, I saw self-promotion in a whole different light, pardon the pun.
You see, the star came for those who had need, who were diligently searching for that star. Somehow by someone, the Magi had been told that a King would be born and they and their ancestors had searched for centuries. They had faith and they had need, for they came not just to honor the King but to worship Him. They were hungry for the things of God and God sent a promotional star just for them. Perhaps other saw it, but no one else followed it but these Magi.
You should self-promote not for your benefit but for the benefit of those who are seeking who you are, what you have and what you can do. If you can pray and people are healed, then healed people need you by the will of the Lord who gave you the gift of healing. If you can write, then you let others know you can, for someone is out there searching for a "star," something to let them know the answer for their problem or need.
If you have died in Christ and belong to Him, then your gift, purpose and role in society are not your choice or call. If God wants to make you a household name, it's none of your business. There are some members of the body who are created to be behind the scenes, but there are some who are made to be seen. Into whichever category you may fit, your life is not your own. It belongs to God and others.
So let's get over this false humility that says, "If God or anyone needs me, they can come find me. I am not going to help them by self-promoting, for that is not spiritual or proper." I say, "Get over it!" and let's allow all those who need to see your star rise do just that - see where you live and what God has enabled you to do. Then they will do just what the Magi did - they will worship Him - and that is where your self-promoting activities should lead. Have a blessed week!
Feel free to add your comments to those of the others by posting them here.
LAST CALL FOR YOUR HELP: I still need your help in two things. First, if you have not already, please take the free purpose assessment found on my website homepage, from which you will receive a score to let you know where I think you are in your PurposeQuest. Then, please send me what you believe to be your purpose statement. I need them both for my next book project that will provide a profile to help take the guesswork out of describing your purpose. You can send your purpose statement to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR STUFF HAS SHIPPED: You can read the latest news about our shipment of goods and resources to Kenya (pictured being loaded at right) here. Please read it and then give a gift to help feed the orphans there through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
GIVE A GIFT TO AN ORPHAN: I have updated my website page that describes what I am doing in Kenya and how you can help. One of the new features is to give a gift of $35 to an orphan this holiday season, which will feed, clothe and care for an orphan like Obed (click to enlarge) for one month. Please check out the new page and then give generously to the cause through PayPal on that page or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsbugh, PA 15221-0882.