Our Job Criteria (Prayer Devotional for the week of January 25, 2015)

We have several folks in my department who have recently retired or are about to, so I am serving on various search committees this year. In order to avoid a human resources nightmare and possibly get ourselves into legal trouble, there are usually only three reasons that we can use to justify not considering an applicant for a job: 1) they don’t meet the education requirements; 2) they lack the necessary experience; or 3) they fall short on some other aspect of the job description. When we make a final recommendation for the selected candidate, we have to explain why we chose that person over the other qualified applicants.


This painstaking process got me thinking about what Jesus went through when he selected his disciples. Granted, he has a bit of an advantage over us, since he knows our hearts (1 John 3:20, Romans 8:27), and we have to whittle down the candidate pool by reading resumes and cover letters. The four gospels include several accounts of Jesus calling his disciples (Ex.: Matthew 4:19 & 9:9, Luke 5:27, John 1:43).


Even though Jesus didn’t appear to conduct formal interviews with his would-be disciples, I did notice two things that were consistent in his search. First, Jesus expected them to follow him (see the verses in the previous paragraph for examples). Second, he expected them to stick around for the long haul. Matthew 10:38 gives us some insight into this second point. You may recognize it as the “take up your cross and follow me” verse. What does that really mean, though? The Message paraphrase puts it this way: “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me.” Jesus wasn’t looking for job hoppers or career-ladder climbers; he was looking for committed servant-leaders.


Jesus wasn’t bothered by the same criteria that we have to abide by in search committees nowadays. He wanted people who were ready and willing to join his work. The exciting thing is that the job notice is still posted! Are you committed to following him for the long haul?

What else to study

I learned recently that our local technical college offers enology & viticulture certificates (as well as associates degrees, but that’s kinda beside the point, at this stage). Enology is the study of the winemaking industry, in general, and viticulture is specific to grape-growing. How interesting would that be?? I may be at risk of becoming a professional student, but either of those programs sounds like a much more fun way to spend my post-doc “free time” than catching up on four years’ worth of tv shows. 🙂

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Dissertation notes & a few minutes of quiet time while practicing my vinter skills 😉

Besides, I could consider it an investment in my retirement years … one of these days! 😉 Ah, just imagine: a quiet home in the country with acres of grapevines, winemaking equipment, and my own cellar to host friends and enjoy the fruits of my labor. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Alas, I’m no where near retiring yet. I still need to finish my dissertation, and then I hope that I’m on the cusp of a new direction in my career — meaning that I’ll be able to move into a faculty position in the not-too-distant future (hopefully by the fall semester).

As for the dissertation, I’m making progress on Ch. 4, and I intend to have a pretty solid draft before the end of the month. I’ve already got an outline of Ch. 5 in the works, so I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to defend in mid-March as I have been hoping to. Cheers to that!