How many times have you asked for something, and the Lord gives it to the person next to you?
John-Paul Gentile has been a part of Bethel Music for 10 years as a guitar player, drummer and songwriter on the Bethel Church worship team and with the Bethel Music Collective. Read this article by John Paul and learn how to celebrate others in seasons of hiddenness.
When your parents tell you not to run out on the road, it doesn’t mean they don’t want you there; they know that the road will hurt you. One day you’ll get a driver’s license and the road will take you everywhere you want to go, but for now, you’re not ready to handle the road.
We all want promotion, but it comes with a cost.
Several years ago I came to Redding California from Philadelphia for what we now call WorshipU Conference. I met a guy named Matt Stinton at the Philadelphia airport, not knowing that we were going to be living in the same house in the same room during worship school.
Every year at WorshipU on Campus, two or three people were highlighted to Brian and Jenn and asked to lead worship at the end of the school. We both tried really hard to put ourselves out there and be noticed by someone on the Bethel Worship team. After the first week, Matt was highlighted to Brian and Jenn, and they brought him on stage and asked him to lead worship.
When I saw this I started asking the Lord why nothing was working for me. I wasn’t getting an answer, and then I realized I was asking the wrong question. When we’re in a relationship with God, asking Him ”why” is indicating that we don’t trust His motives. Instead of asking “why,” we should be asking “what.” “What are you doing right now?”
When you assume that God already has your best in mind, you’ll ask “what” instead of “why.”
God told me, “I’m teaching you how to promote others.” The irony about this was that I came to Redding to get promoted. I would have never said it that way, but when it came down to it, that’s what I wanted. This paralyzed me. The only thing that could get me out of my paralytic state and help me get over myself was to celebrate someone else.
Asking for promotion is asking God to put you on the front line, having no idea what is coming at you. It is the kindness of the Lord to allow you to be someone’s armor-bearer instead. You’ll be able to watch, cover and protect them—and most of all you’ll learn without having to take the first blow.
The people who are in the front of the line take blows that the people behind them will never feel. The hidden place is where you can make the most mistakes, blow up trying things, and no one is requesting that much of you. Once you’re promoted, that’s the hardest spot to be.
If you want to be promoted, learn to love the value of being hidden, and learn to celebrate others.
The night that Matt Stinton lead worship at the worship school, I was standing in the back of the room while he was on stage. The Lord told me to go up to the front of the room so that Matt could see me. The Lord said to me, “I brought you out here to channel all your bigness, loudness and energy towards celebrating someone else.”
It was a powerful thing to celebrate him; seeing him succeed was like a secret between me and the Lord because I got to co-labor with heaven. Heaven is constantly celebrating people—they’re excited for us to be ourselves. The last person in heaven who gave in to his ego had to leave with a 3rd of the angels.
My success is wrapped up in my awareness, celebration, and care of others.
10 years later, I got to go on the Victory Tour with Bethel Music. This time I’m a drummer, guitarist and songwriter in a family I’ve known for a decade. I went off the stage to pray for someone, and the band started the next song. I turned around, and there I was, in the front of the room right underneath the stage. I knew exactly what to do.
I started jumping and singing, grabbing whoever was around me and getting them excited because those were my friends on stage, and a lot of them were on tour for the first time. I wasn’t afraid to become an absolute spectacle in celebration, showing everyone in the room that it’s not about “us” and “them.” We’re all together.
I’m so grateful for the time I was hidden because it taught me how to be excited when something doesn’t go my way.
It means something better is going to happen because He’s already proven himself to me time and time again. I want to be someone that celebrates before the breakthrough. If you want to be promoted, celebrate the one who has the position you want. Cover them, protect them, and take care of them. When it’s your turn, you’ll be grateful for the people who want to cover you, and you won’t be threatened by talented people. There will always be someone better than you, but there will never be someone like you.
If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.
So, while waiting for promotion, what do you do in between? Wait on the Lord—but don’t wait passively—wait on Him like a waiter or waitress waits on a frequent customer. As soon as the customer walks in you know what their favorite order is. Waiting on the Lord isn’t about getting what you want, it’s about serving the person who knows everything you’ve ever wanted.
Don’t wait for a position to move forward, find God in this season and serve Him with everything you have.
Often what we’re looking for isn’t actually promotion but a sense of belonging or an escape from a place we don’t want to be. Where is God in your everyday life? Look at the person in front of you—your coworker, spouse, or child—and celebrate what you see. Loving people doesn’t require skill. While waiting on the Lord we can give to the people around us.
The Lord is forming something beautiful in you that cannot be formed any other way, and it will sustain you in the moments of pressure and risk once you’ve been promoted.