Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not in order to share your faith.

Padding Your Résumé 6-9-07

Galatians 1:11-24

When I was with La-Z-Boy, one of my duties was to hire the staff for my store— salespeople, office staff, warehouse workers and drivers. Now, most of the time, people would just come in to the store and fill out an application and I would have to derive their qualifications, level of education and past work history from that. But occasionally, someone would come in really prepared and hand me a resume along with their application. They wanted their potential employer to know everything about them before the interview process began— not only their level of education and past work history but also their career goals and maybe some personal information. Resumes are very helpful in identifying the right candidates for a particular job. I would look over the resumes, look at the applicant’s qualifications, the types and number of different jobs they had over the years, and determine if I wanted to call them in for an interview or if their application and resume should wind up in round file. Some of the resumes I looked at were quite interesting, the different jobs people had or their life experiences, but they no where near as entertaining as the ones I ran across a few days ago. Some people really should enlist the aid of a proof reader before handing out their resumes because these are actual examples of what recruiting executive Robert Half calls “resumania.” Again, these are from actual resumes:

- When leaving call back information- “Please call after 5:30 p.m. because I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job.

- When touting one’s own strengths- “I am very “conscientions” and “accurite.”

- Other assets one could bring to a job- “I am also a notary republic.”

- Showing a willingness to move- “My consideration will be given to relocation anywhere in the English-speaking world and/or Washington, D.C.”

- Under physical disabilities: “Minor allergies to house cats and Mongolian sheep.”

- And reasons given for leaving the last job: “the company made me a scapegoat- just like my previous three employers did.” (Business Times- http://net.bible.org/illustration.php?topic=466)

Obviously, these people were not applying for the job of rocket scientist.

Many people pad their resumes for a variety of reasons— they want to show that they are more educated than they really are, they want to show that they have more experience than they really do, or because they want their prospective employers to think that they are eminently qualified for a certain position— that they are experts and the ultimate authority in their particular field. And to some people, Paul’s words to the church in Galatia almost sound as if he’s trying to pad his resume— trying to make the people think he’s more qualified to speak about the Christ than anyone else. But, he does this in kind of a weird way— in order to make himself look good, he writes about what a scumbag he was. He almost sounds like he is bragging about his zealous persecution of the Christians. And, I guess in some respects, he is. But, some people still have a problem with Paul. They just can’t get past their impression of Paul as a braggart, as someone who always seems to want to call attention to himself. They look at the last line of this passage and point to it as evidence that Paul thinks it’s all about him, “And they praised God because of me.” Paul often sounds like he is bragging on himself, doesn’t he? — how holy and wonderful he is, especially in comparison to the churches he is writing to. And, I guess Paul could have worded this last line differently and said something like, “And they praised God because of what God did through me.” Maybe that would make some of Paul’s writings more palatable for some— if he would at least appear to give God the credit rather than take it himself.

You know, you don’t normally tell people how rotten you were if you are trying to win them over. But, God knew what Paul had done, his contempt for those Jews who thought is was no longer necessary to follow the Law of Moses// and God called Paul anyway. In fact, Paul’s past treatment of Christians, and the forgiveness that he received for that persecution, actually made him uniquely qualified to spread God’s message of redemption through Jesus the Christ. I mean, if someone with his credentials in the Jewish community could be forgiven for everything he did, people might begin to think that there’s something to this Jesus guy after all. Paul felt the power and the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in spite of his brutal past. His words would carry some weight with the people.

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