The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
— Emily Dickinson
Nobody ever told me to hang my diplomas on my office wall. I did it because I thought it mattered. I have eight years of college and post-graduate education diplomas. I have ordination certificates from my denomination to verify that I am qualified and authorized to do what I do. They hang on my wall, because I thought it mattered.
Nobody has noticed.
I recently heard Rachel Lloyd speak at the Justice Conference in Portland, Oregon. She shared the stage with two of the most influential theologians of our generation – Miroslav Volf and Walter Brueggemann. Rachel Lloyd is the author of, Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not For Sale. In 1998, with no college degree, a borrowed computer, and $30, Rachel established GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, to support girls and young women victimized by the commercial sex industry. GEMS is now the nation’s largest organization offering direct services to domestic victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Rachel’s trailblazing advocacy has led to ground-breaking legislation in New York, and is the subject of the critically-acclaimed Showtime documentary “Very Young Girls.” She has helped more than 1500 girls and young women rehabilitate their lives over the last fourteen years.
Nobody ever authorized, credentialed, or licensed Rachel Lloyd to do the work she is doing. None of the 1500 women she has helped seem to care. What has mattered most to them is her own life story. Her personal experience of recovery and redemption has become the only credential she has ever needed. For the vast majority of the women she has worked with, Rachel Lloyd was the first woman they’d ever met who actually made it off the streets.
Few people really care about your resume these days. What is most compelling to them are your personal victories, your body of work, everything you have done since the day you hung those diplomas on the wall. I think this is why, when John the Baptist asks Jesus if he is the Messiah, Jesus replies, ‘You tell me – the lame walk, the blind see, the dead are raised.’ Try putting that on a resume.
You don’t need a resume or a degree to live the hospitable life; nor do you need to be perfect. Jesus’ disciples were ordinary people who heard an extraordinary call on their lives to follow and serve. Even Paul, in noting all of his past accomplishments as a Jewish leader, said that his qualifications were all rubbish once Christ put him to work.
The way of hospitality is marked by humility and honest self-awareness. It is absent of ego and self-justification. Like the generous clover that hosts the sojourning honeybee, it knows its innate beauty and purpose. It stretches daily toward the sun, and yields to its guest.
You have everything you need to feed the honeybee. Whatever you lack, God will provide you.
Photo Credit: Danny Perez Photography