Service Over Self

To be a faithful believer in the marketplace today – one that generates impact as well as income – you have to put service over self.


You’ve probably heard statements like that many times before, but in reading Proverbs recently I (David) stumbled on two verses that brought this to light again for me – even though I’d read them countless times before.


“It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory” (Proverbs 25:27)


We’ll skp the honey part (because I LOVE ice cream!) – so we’ll just focus on the second part of the verse, which is what caught my attention.


No, seriously, both parts of the verse are linked – and in today’s marketplace I see them linked more acutely than I had before.


Eating too much honey is selfish. We’ve all been there – the feeling of a self-absorbed, out of control, sugar binge. Jason knows this well, and it’s not good.


In the same way, searching out glory for ourselves is just as selfish, especially in today’s world of social media. We portray only the best of our lives and leave out the bad stuff – just to keep looking good….and getting the glory.


“Wow. He’s/She’s amazing. Look at everything he/she says about his/her day/success/business/etc.”


It feels good, right?


But Proverbs teaches us not to seek glory for ourselves, which leads to the second verse:


“Let another praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2)


What we want in the marketplace today is praise for the way we serve and meet needs…not just from creative, self-promoting marketing strategies.


Secular wisdom says, “Get ahead. Promote yourself. It’s what you have to do.”


But God’s wisdom says, “Let others praise you. Don’t seek glory for yourself.”


This is why we don’t build ourselves up by tearing down our competition. Because the ultimate goal of marketing our business as believers is to lift others up through our service/product, not to simply elevate ourselves.


There’s a real fine line here, so it’s important to be diligent in prayer and monitor your motivations as you create marketing strategies today. Because the ancient wisdom of Proverbs is clear that praising yourself is not pleasing to God.


So focus on service over self. You may just find out that praise from others comes as a natural outflow.