Today, my sweet friend, Nancy will promote to Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.
As many around the military know, this promotion is the highest grade an enlisted member can attain and only 1% of the military will make it to this particular rank. With this promotion, comes much responsibility…and expectation.
There is an expectation that a Chief will be knowledgeable. They will correct poor behavior and praise good. They will advise, they will mentor, they will excel, they will speak well, they will encourage others, they will say the unpopular things…they will support other Chiefs. These expectations, as well as countless others can be a burden to the one responsible for maintaining them.
In Genesis 41:1-45, we see Joseph receiving a promotion from Pharaoh….and we know that he also had great responsibilities and expectations placed upon him.
For instance, in Genesis 41:37-45, Pharaoh not only promotes Joseph to second-in-command of Egypt, he specifically tasks Joseph with preparing for the coming famine. Based on previous verses, we know that Joseph is humble and repeatedly requests assistance from the Lord. He confesses his sin and inability to meet challenges. If we do that in our workplaces, we create an environment that attributes success to God, rather than ourselves.
Joseph’s promotion brought overt signs of his new position of leadership. He was offered fine clothes, official transportation, a signet ring, a new Egyptian name…and even an Egyptian spouse. His response to these trapping could have been prideful. However, Joseph exhibited great restraint from a worldly perspective and allowed God to receive the glory. In short, Joseph gets a ton of stuff simply by being promoted.
In the modern military, this is true of the promotion to Chief Master Sergeant. You’ve earned the most stripes…recognizable from a distance. You have an official parking spot at certain locations on base. There is a reverence for the title. You may get a bigger office or a government paid smart phone. You even receive the new name of “Chief” and when the word Chief is mentioned, those who hold this title will respond. This title and name “Chief” stays with you even into retirement.
Handling promotions with all these types of extras is hard. Joseph remained humble by continuously falling back on the lessons he learned in childhood…but more than that, he also remembered where the true credit belonged: God, the Father Almighty.
When one makes Chief in the Air Force, they will often give credit to those before them who mentored them. They will acknowledge previous supervisors and mentors…they may even acknowledge those they’ve personally led. They will thank family and friends. And some will credit God for His hand in their promotion. This is applicable to any job…not just the military.
Regardless of the promotion, the expectations, or the trappings that mark the new position, leadership is difficult. It’s a challenge that stretches each person’s humbleness vs. pride. Yet, if we look to the newly promoted leadership of Joseph, we can glean hope that it’s not an insurmountable challenge.
While surrounded by other Chief Master Sergeants, today will mark the day that Nancy takes on the challenge. Today marks the day she begins to comprehend a little of what Joseph faced under Pharaoh.
I can’t wait to see how she excels as a leader and as a sister Chief!