When I think of the word “portfolio” I think of two things: a shiny leather briefcase, and my huge, wide, very large binder packed with artifacts from my college time learning to be an educator.

I took my portfolio very seriously.  I made sure the best projects, eccentrically proofread to be as error-free as possible, were placed meticulously inside the portfolio.

Now I am usually a messy person, but my portfolio was meticulous.  There was something about the ability to graduate, get a job–that kind of thing.  I found that motivating.

I could have tied my portfolio around my wrist at night so that, in the event of a fire, my portfolio would have tagged along behind me.  I might have broken my little twiggy arm in the process, but insurance could have paid for a broken arm.  Insurance could not have paid for my portfolio.  There is no insurance certificate you can bring to job interviews with you that vouches that you used to have a portfolio, and it was really great, but it got destroyed in a fire.

Now, with as much as I valued my portfolio, with as much as I treasured it, with as much as I treated it like something that belonged in an art museum in France (only the best for my portfolio), you would think I would bring it to the biggest interview opportunity of my hopeful career.

I did not.

It wasn’t that I forgot it–although if you were thinking that’s what it was, I don’t blame you.  And if you weren’t, bless you for not knowing me very well.

No, the reason I did not bring my portfolio to my district interview was because I had gotten bad information.  I thought I didn’t need to, that it was irrelevant to the meeting.  I don’t remember who had told me what, but I think it was part their misunderstanding and part my bad inference.

I thought my portfolio was irrelevant to the meeting.

When the interviewers asked me something like, “Did you bring a portfolio?” it was like, one of those moments where you know you’re going to crash into a brick wall and you know you’re the one driving.  I was dumbfounded.  I was astonished.  I felt so, so stupid.

I think I tried to tell them how great my portfolio was, and how I could bring it to them to look at.  I knew exactly how this sounded.

It was pretty depressing, all right.  I was angry and I felt like a fool.  I was a fool.

I got no follow-up calls after that interview.

I had all the information I needed to present myself as a success, and I had left it behind, beyond recovery.

As bad as that was, that was nothing like what it’s going to be for people who stand at the gates of Heaven to meet the Judge and realize they can’t enter because they left their pardon behind.  And realize they are beyond recovery.

I’ve heard it pointed out that a pardon only works if it’s received[1].  A rejected pardon is still good, but does not work for the person who rejected it.

The greatest trick of Satan I know it to convince people to leave their pardon behind.  He tells them that they don’t need it, that it’s irrelevant.

And then we all wake up one day and face the Judge.

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.” (The LORD, quoted in Deuteronomy 30:15, NLT)


[1] This paragraph is credited to Gary Varvel, from his explanation of salvation on the bonus features of The Board DVD.

Photograph by Kelly Teague, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/span112/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

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