Never be afraid to ask for a raise

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A recent job fair for people who’ve been unemployed for quite a while offered prospective employees a variety of tips—including how to dress for success. A collared shirt and jacket were highly recommended. But cynical hiring managers sometimes call this a “Sincere Suit,” based on some prospects’ notion that “sincerity is the key to success; if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

You can’t fake spirituality, though, and as we mark the Ascension of Jesus, all of us employed in this game of life would be well served by listening in on the private 40-day training session Christ gave those he chose to continue his salvific mission. The account from Acts (Acts 1:1-11) tells us,

While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Luke’s gospel adds details from this meeting, making Jesus’s advice sound like one of those job fair tips:

“Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:46-53).

What the spirit hands down to all of us IS our power suit, and it is designed to get us through the hard job of living. There are days on this job that make us feel we’re not cut out for it; that we’re powerless. Even when things seem to be going well in our own lives, the headlines will overwhelm us with the suffering of others. Victims of war, poverty and crime surround us. But the wisdom of our Spirit’s holy fabric is designed to envelop others, too, even if only by prayer. And, as Paul told the Ephesians, the hand-me-down lifestyle our Holy Spirit represents is to be a …

… revelation, resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones (Eph 1:17-23).

Paul was the perfect example of the imperfect fit most of Jesus’ disciples showed for the job they inherited. But God made this earth humanity’s fitting room. We may look silly as we start our life’s assignments, but in hope of imitating our Master’s ascension, our sincerity will help us to help each other rise to every occasion.

–Tom Andel

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