Peter Thompson ’13

In his book The Road to Character, David Brooks draws a distinction between resume virtues and eulogy virtues: “The resume virtues are the ones you list on your resume, the skills that…contribute to external success. The eulogy virtues…get talked about at your funeral…whether you are kind, brave, honest, or faithful.”

While walking around Galilee with Jesus, I imagine the disciples discussing their resume virtues with each other. Who is the greatest disciple? Who has the best resume to be accompanying Jesus? Later in Mark’s Gospel, James and John are even more explicit about their ambition to be the greatest, saying to Jesus, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mk 10:37)

This focus on resume virtues is probably familiar to many of us. At work, when introducing myself to a new client or colleague, it is second nature to talk about my experience or tenure, trying to appear competent and credible. Social media, too, often encourages us to curate a resume of our best selves for others to see.

However, Jesus challenges the disciples and us to worry less about our resumes and more about the eulogy virtues. For Jesus, the sign of true greatness is to be “the last of all and the servant of all.” When our eulogies are read, whatever greatness we achieved in this world will be insignificant compared to how we served others.

Today, I pray for the grace to let go of my ego and the desire to impress others with a great resume. May we each become humble like a child and act as a servant to all.