Reading: 1 Timothy 1: 12-14
Paul reminds us today that God can use anybody to help build the kingdom. Paul acknowledges that his past included blasphemy, persecution, and violence – all against the newly founded church that followed Jesus. He was very zealous in his work against this new church. Yet God, in a show of great mercy, claimed Paul for service in the kingdom. In a flash all the zeal against Christ became zeal for Christ.
When we look at Paul’s past, we can see how God was at work preparing Paul for the role we know him in as one of the great missionaries and teachers if the early church. Early on Saul, as the old Paul was known, was a star pupil. He was very intelligence and quickly learned the Hebrew Bible inside and out. He quickly rose through the religious ranks and became a very well respected Pharisee. It was all of this past knowledge and practices that allowed Paul to so skillfully build His case for Christ and to defend it against attacks from non-believers and the Jewish authorities as well.
Each of enters into God’s service in a similar way. We too all come with our past sins and mistakes. But we also come with we have done and experienced and learned in life. The gifts and talents that God has blessed each of us with are a part of who we are as well. Just like Paul, when we are called or led into service in some particular way, we are ready. We are just who God has prepared us to be and needs us to be for that role.
Like so many before us, often we too ask, “Me?” as our initial response to God’s call. We are usually skilled at saying “Well…”, “But…”, “When…”, and “No” also. But God does not call us unless we have been equipped for the task at hand. We may not know this or feel this way, but God knows better. May we each obediently respond to God’s call in our lives so that we may say as Paul said, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to service”.