July 19, 2020

Writing Our Résumés
Pentecost 7, Proper 11, Year A
Becky Robbins-Penniman

When you lie on your resume, and get the job anyway. (Photo of fox among group of hound dogs.)

It might be an odd thing for me to think about when I’m 6 weeks from retiring, but what if I had to go out and find a totally different job right now? I haven’t looked for a job in years. My qualifications are pretty specific to being a pastor. What would I put on my résumé in order to get some other job? Any good job counselor would tell me not to write my résumé before I’d first looked at job postings. Then, I’d list my qualifications in a way that the potential employer
could see how they fit in with their needs.

People can get pretty creative doing this. A Facebook post gave this challenge: On a resume, how would you describe how you changed a light bulb? The winning answer: Single-handedly managed the successful upgrade and deployment of new environmental illumination system with zero cost overruns and zero safety incidents. Another amusing Facebook feature is a series of memes about job hunting. (memes are just pictures with funny captions) This meme showed a fox running with the hounds; the caption read: When you lie on your resume but get the job anyway.

This funny insight points to an uncomfortable truth: We come into this world as damp, squalling bundles of neediness, useful to no one, utterly dependent, and are expected, day after day, to figure everything out, to make our way in the world, and become productive citizens. The problem? we often don’t have the faintest clue what we’re doing. We do what we have to do to get along in this world – even if it means lying on our resume. Of course it’s necessary to become a functioning adult, but I think the world would be a far better place if we never, ever forgot that our humble beginnings are all the same, whether prince or pauper: Not one of us never entirely grows out of being a damp, squalling bundle of neediness that doesn’t have a clue.

I bet this thought is pretty offensive to some folks. To be described as needy, not having it all together, is a terrible insult. So let me also acknowledge that every one has amazing gifts, and some have astonishingly impressive skills. I gladly affirm the wonderfulness of all that and encourage everyone to have confidence in their gifts and skills. These are given to us by God for the very purpose of glorifying God by serving our neighbors well.

The trouble comes when we forget that we are all born the same, and start assessing the value of the other person for the purpose of cataloging the ways that we are better and more worthy than they are. We slyly but clearly labeling others as weeds – and we’re always wheat.

The basic problem with this endeavor is that the position of judging folks is not vacant. No human being besides the Son of God will ever be interviewed for this job…

Read the full sermon text HERE.

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