Can you strive for a promotion and still put others first? Can you consider the needs of others above your own and still edge out someone else to become the president of your company? For the Christian who leads in a secular environment the question isn’t, Does self-promotion mean you aren’t being humble? ‒ the question is, Can you be humble in any position you occupy?
It’s no more worldly to develop your talents and pursue your interests than it is saintly to avoid them. In fact, if you are exercising your God-given talents, you should be rewarded with expanded opportunities. It’s God’s intention that we learn about ourselves by stepping out and employing the gifts, talents and skills He’s given us. If you don’t find your limits because of fear, then you might be a “wicked and lazy servant,” avoiding the responsibility to take risks and develop what God has entrusted to you. But God wants us to risk failing as well as succeeding. He has more use for a humble CEO than an arrogant store clerk, and vice versa. Being competitive isn’t the problem in itself. Who wants a Christian heart surgeon who finished at the bottom of his class?
Man was designed to expand ‒ to fill the earth and bring order to it. This was to be accomplished under, with and for God. Expanding, filling, ordering, gaining are all Godlike qualities, and all are forms of influence. Man is a being designed to influence, and that’s what drives leadership. After the Fall, man’s design didn’t change, but the credit for his achievements did. Who gets the glory for our accomplishments as leaders is the issue. Are we expanding our influence for God’s kingdom or trying to establish one of our own?