But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favour on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10, NLT*
“Whatever I am now” – Paul said his actions in persecuting the early Christians made him unworthy to be called an apostle.
Clearly, he was an apostle, or as William Barclay described him, an ambassador for Christ. Yes, he came late to the party, and with a terrible history. But when Jesus got Paul’s attention, Paul surrendered and threw his whole heart into spreading the news that the promised Saviour had come.
Paul didn’t dare let his past disqualify him – not when Jesus had personally commissioned him. He didn’t let the unusual circumstances of his calling inflate his opinion of himself or of those who’d served the Lord from the beginning. Nor did he allow his “thorn in the flesh” hold him back – instead he learned to rely on God’s strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
He never claimed to have deserved God’s special favour – anything but. Yet he seized what God gave him, and poured out his own life in service to his new Master.
If we look around us, we’ll see many who appear better equipped to spread the good news about Jesus. But the God who called Paul, and whose grace was enough for him, wants to use us too. He seems to like to work through the unlikely… perhaps because we’re more aware of how much we need to rely on Him?
God our Saviour… our King. Thank You for the privilege of belonging to You. Rekindle our wonder that You saved us, and open our eyes to see the opportunities You give to share You with others. Help us not to think less – or more – of ourselves than we should, but instead to think most about You. Show us how to live for You so others can come to know You as well.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.