TiO 45 – The Art of Relationship – The Lost Art of Promotion


The Main Idea

We all want people to notice the good things that we do and respect us for what we have done. But the path to promotion and respect (favour) is not what society (the world) had taught us. Instead, it is through obedience to God and humility before other people..

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: What do you aspire to?

Q2: What is the oddest job you have ever encountered?

Q3: What is the “path to promotion” in your current job?

Dig a Little Deeper

Mike talked this weekend about God’s path to promotion. He began by establishing what God thinks about being recognized and rewarded by the world:

Read Proverbs 3:1-4 and Proverbs 14:35

Both of these passages speak of favour?

Q1: How do you define favour?

Q2: Is having/getting/seeking favour a bad thing?

Q3: What does Proverbs 3:1-4 tell us about the path to favour, both in the eyes of God and in the eyes of other people?

Mike made some assertions about favour and promotion. Take some time to discuss this statement: “Authority is a relationship you will never outgrow”.

Q4: If this is true (and you can discuss whether it is), what does it mean for our attitude towards those who are in authority and those who we are in authority over?

The Bible, specifically the Gospels, tells us only about small fragments (chronologically) about the life of Jesus:

  • His infancy: Matthew and Luke give us insight into this
  • Jesus at 12 years old: Only Luke tells us this story
  • His adult ministry from 30-33: All four Gospels tell us about this

The question that Mike asked was, “What was Jesus doing in the years that the Gospel writers did not tell us about?” We have very little direct information about this. The passage that Mike referenced in Luke is the best that we have to indicate what happened in the years between 3 and 30.

Read Luke 2:41-52

There are many things that we could discuss about this passage. Cultural questions that might give us answers as to how you could lose your 12 year old for 3 days in a crowd of travellers and how someone so young could get an audience in a Jewish church. But Mike focussed on the last few verses, the ones that spoke of Jesus increasing in both favour and years: a verse that, for Luke, is a transition between the childhood of Jesus and the beginning of his public ministry at age 30.

Q5: According to Luke 2:41-52, what were some of the essential character traits of the boy Jesus?

Q6: How do the characteristics demonstrated in verse 51 relate to the development spoken of in verse 52?

Mike said this: “Love and favour are not the same thing.”

Q7: What is the difference between love and favour? In our relationships with each other? In our relationship with God?

Next Steps

Mike’s primary thesis was this: our favour with other people and with God is built on obedience and on humility, that is, if we strive to attain favour we will not get it but if we live lives of obedience and humility then it will come naturally.

Q1: How does favour relate to ambition, that is, our desire to “climb the corporate ladder” or to attain positions of authority?

Q2: Is it possible to be both humble and powerful? If so, how would that look in real life?

Q3: What do you aspire to? What is the best pathway for you to reach your goals?

Pray for the discernment to understand the difference between what you aspire to and the path to attaining those things.

The Depth (for optional study)

In this section we are providing an in-depth look into the scriptures that the message came out of. There are two critical steps in good interpretation of the Bible. First, we try to understand what the author meant when he wrote the words and how that would have been applied by the original audience. Second, we then take the principles that the original author was trying to get across to his audience and we apply those principles to our own lives. You may want to read some of these passages yourself and/or have people in your group read them together. 

Proverbs 3:1-4

My child, do not forget my teaching,

but let your heart keep my commandments;

for length of days and years of life

and abundant welfare they will give you.

Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favour and good repute

in the sight of God and of people.

Proverbs 14:35

A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favour, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully

Luke 2:41-52

                  41Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. 51His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.

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