Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Career Day

   Paul writes to the church in Philippi to share his current status, for he was suffering in prison, and to say that he longed to see them face to face, again. He goes on to lift up persons as examples of faith for the believers who would read his letter to follow. After referring to Jesus, Timothy, and Epaphroditus, Paul gets around to his own life in the third chapter. He describes the career he made for himself and then uses choice language that is translated into English as rubbish or refuse to say that all of the career he made for himself before encountering Jesus was worth nothing. (read more here)
   Since 'retiring' from a career in college basketball, I have thought about the ways in which my path was similar to Paul's. While Paul reached the pinnacle of excellence at an early age and was admired by his peers, my career trajectory was slightly lower as a junior college coach and then a Division II coach. I did have the chance to help Georgia Tech win a couple of championships, and spent a couple of summers working in the NBA and for the Olympic Dream team. Yet, like Paul, the accomplishments of those days pale in comparison to the work Christ has called me to now. 
Teresa, Quinley and Leighton
Blaire and Leslie
   On Monday evening, a couple of Epworth's very best walked across the stage as they graduated from Columbus State University. The names Blaire Delane Morris and Quinley Augusta Russell were called out as their families looked on with pride. Their stories are awesome and they deserve a moment to bask in the glory of such an accomplishment, as do all of the graduates this year who will be celebrated in the coming weeks. 
   It was on this same Monday night that my father, Dan Hagan, came into town to visit. He was speaking at Sam and Jack's elementary school for their Career Day. This is the fourth or fifth time he has done so and each year he returns more excited to talk about science, bugs, and the neat things he has been able to do. But, how do we reconcile a successful career with Paul's words about counting it as refuse?
   I think Paul was right. Our careers and accomplishments are rubbish compared to the glory of knowing Christ. But, I think we have misread Paul if we come away thinking that our careers cannot be used for the glory of Christ. My father is a Christian who happens to be a biologist. Blaire and Quinley are Christians who are now college graduates, both of whom have the chance to take the past and leverage for the Kingdom. God calls us to use all that we have to be about his Kingdom agenda: bringing healing to broken places, putting the world back together and sharing the amazing love that was first shared with us. I think if Jesus had ever spoken at a Career Day he would have shared those very ideas like he did in the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25. 
   May we all make such accomplishments be our goals, as well. Grace and Peace, Scott

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