Summary: The title of my message today is how to handle a raise. Now that may seem at first glance to be a strange topic. I mean if your boss were to ask you --- do you think you could handle a raise, I imagine your response would be. Sure.

“How to Handle a Raise/Promotion”

Nehemiah 5:14-19

The title of my message today is how to handle a raise. Now that may seem at first glance to be a strange topic. I mean if your boss were to ask you --- do you think you could handle a raise, I imagine your response would be. Sure. Yep. Where do I sign up? In fact I’ll take it right now. I honestly cannot imagine anyone being offered a raise and responding -- no thank you --- I have all I need.

Let me ask you, if you were to receive a promotion, a raise, what would you do with it? Most of us would quickly name several bills or credit cards we might pay off. But it doesn’t usually turn out that way. Too many times when we get a promotion, we get our sights set on other things …. A new car, a bigger house, a swimming pool or a new guitar. Just being honest.

Now everyone knows what to do when the suddenly run into extra money. Not everyone knows what to do when they are dropped inti a place of influence and often what happens is that it goes to their head. They become full of pride. And here is why … we often have a false belief about where the promotion actually came from. I worked for at least ten years, both part time and full time in the grocery business. I remember a young man I worked with who told me very clearly one day --- I plan to go to the top in this business and I don’t care who I have to run over to get there.

Many believe that a promotion comes by being

• Knowing the right person

• Shaking the right hands

• Patting the right people on the back.

• Running over people.

If I get a promotion, I want it to come from God. These kinds of things may help you get a promotion but they don’t last for long. People figure you out. And the promotion won’t last for long.

In scripture it was God who literally took

• Joseph out of the pit and made him into a leader

• Took Daniel out of boot camp and place him at the right hand of the king

• Took Amos and moved him into the position of being a prophet; one who spoke for God himself.

Joseph, Daniel … these men knew how to handle a promotion. And so did Nehemiah.

The questions is really how do we handle a promotion, how do we handle leadership without allowing pride to step in and take over?

Well the first step is easy. Accept it. If God drops s position of leadership in your lap, accept it. Remember what I told you in chapter one? Nehemiah started a cupbearer. Then he became a foreman. Kind of an engineer. Then he became governor. Each time he received a promotion, he had to do a simple thing. Accept it.

For some of us, perhaps many of us, when an opportunity for leadership is placed in front of us our first response is something like this ….

• You talkin’ to me, you talkin’ to me, God?

• I’m not capable

• Moses said, Lord I can’t speak well

• I don’t have the confidence

A good example for us is this man in the OT named Jabez. He stands out in the OT for his prayer. He said, “Lord, would you bless me indeed, would you enlarge my territory/my influence, would you let your hand be with me, and keep me from evil, so that I may not cause pain.” And he did. I first read that book in 2000 when we started this church. That prayer --- the prayer of Jabez --- is almost hidden back in the book of 1st Chronicles. I read the book one week shortly after we started this church and immediately started praying that prayer and it was that very week that we were offered a larger space to meet in. Jabez didn’t say Lord, give me some tiny spot where I can just go on with life, unnoticed … you know sort of cruise for a while.

If you ask for leadership, plan to work harder. Nehemiah accepted the job as governor and when he did, he was immediately faced with some major concerns. You may want to write them down.

1. With every promotion there are privileges. Benefits. And the wise leader will use them without abusing them. He never ate from the food allocated to the Governor. Basically as governor he had an allowance for entertaining people but he never misused it.

2. Leadership often brings with it new temptations. New struggles. New opportunities. And to succeed you must learn to use self-control.

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