Are they ministers of Christ? . . . I am a better one: with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death. 2 Corinthians 11:23
When we think of accomplishments that commend us to others—those things that lend credibility to our person—we tend to think of all the impressive work we have done. When we build a résumé or fill out an application or apply to a school of some kind, we list out all our accomplishments, achievements, and successes. Paul’s résumé was quite different from ours. Paul reveled in his weaknesses and his failures. The obstacles he encountered and the failures he endured were for him a measure of the fortitude and persistence of his faith. Paul had been beaten but not broken, he had been flogged but not forestalled, and he had been shipwrecked but not shaken. Even after every kind of harm had befallen him, Paul stood firm in his faith. Success in worldly terms was not nearly as important to Paul as the strength and resolve a person demonstrated when the world turned against them. Christian résumés should be filled with the trials and testing that befall us when we try to live out our faith in a world that was, and still is, hostile to Jesus. For Christians, worldly success and praise are not nearly as commendable as resilience in the face of hardship and hostility.
What moments of resilience would you include on your Christian résumé?
Lord, I don’t like failure, and I am even less enamored with the idea of facing people who are hostile toward me. I try to avoid conflict. I view success as managing through life in ways that bypass opposition. And yet, when I think of the grand mission You call us to, a call that draws us to the side of people our world often discounts and maligns, when I consider that You call us to do what is right rather than what is popular, and speak truth even when truth is the last thing so many people want to hear, it shouldn’t be surprising that Christian success can look a bit different than what I might envision for myself. Lord, help me to build a résumé of love and faith and action that isn’t afraid of confrontation, conflict, and failure. For this I pray, in Your name. AMEN.