Last Day at the Office: An Apostle’s Exit Interview
A friend of mine recently got laid off from his job. After HR informed him of the decision, explained his payout and benefits options, he was invited back for an exit interview. He was asked to reflect on his experience as an employee at the organization: How was the job? Was he given the resources to do it well? Was he compensated well? Treated fairly?
Typically, we don’t think of people in the Bible going through a similar process. And to be fair, they didn’t. That said, when the apostle Paul knew his run was coming to an end, he sat down with close friends to reflect on his work and their time together.
Here’s a summary of his closing comments in Acts 20:18-36.
1. I executed the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears.
2. I endured trials at the hands of those who opposed me.
3. I didn’t pull punches. I told you what you needed to hear, publicly and privately.
4. I delivered a consistent message: repent, turn to God, put your faith in Jesus.
5. I’m not concerned about my personal wellbeing, only finishing the task Godgave me.
6. Guard yourselves and God’s people, enemies of the truth will come after you.
7. This is the where our paths diverge, so I’m committing you to the grace of God.
8. My conscience is clear and my hands are clean. I’ve worked hard and coveted nothing.
9. I worked hard so I could be a blessing to people in need.
The last verse says this, “When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them.”
Paul’s retirement speech starts with a statement of humility and personal authenticity and ends the same way, with him on his knees, praying with his friends.
When his race was winding down, Paul reaffirmed his commitment to the highest standard of integrity, a message communicated with clarity and a mission executed with tenacity.
If today was your last day, could you check the boxes on Paul’s list?
Are you working with humility, even when it is challenging?
Are you handling hardship with grace?
Are you saying what God gives you to say the same way in every context?
Are you remaining true to your life themes, the messages that reflect your unique identity?
Are you encouraging others to remain in the grace of God?
Are you diligent in your work, so others can be blessed by your contributions?
Are you pushing on with a clean conscience? Or do you need to make amends before you leave?
Paul didn’t get to choose his departure date, but every day he punched in he knew what he was about, what he wanted to accomplish, how he wanted to treat others and the type of legacy he wanted to leave behind. Do you?