Separated from his mother’s womb. Already, that ouches a lot of those who say they are followers of him and the others. It could be, that some consider him the odd apostle. He was not one of the original 12; yet he wrote roughly half of the New Testament.
I remember it being said in a large annual meeting which I attended, that he did not go before the general board to be approved or given permission for his ministry. The comment didn’t set well with many who believe they can control what God wants to do. Many liked Paul; but they didn’t like him, at the same time.
The fact that God had decided a long time back, that this man would carry the Gospel to the gentiles, doesn’t fit well with some of our theology. It has a way of causing us to question our ideas, of the way God does his work. The possibility that anyone, might be called in the way Paul, Jeremiah and others were, produces great unrest in many in leadership.
I heard a very well known evangelist/apostle say recently, that some people have been ordained by God, to do a special work, long before they took their first real breath. That’s scriptural, it is written, but it provokes jealousy and envy in those who are not secure in who they are; what their place in God really is.
We don’t obey all of Paul’s writings. Many of us came from groups, who are prone to pick and choose what they want others to believe. This man, did not claim to be anything; he said, “I am nothing.” He wasn’t poor mouthing, or only acting like he was humble. Just in case some might attempt to take advantage of his humility, he also declared, that he didn’t come behind one whit, of the others who were in the original group.
He must have been, the greatest missionary of that time; he carried the gospel all over that part of the world. Often, to people, others did not want anything to do with. In fact, some, were even against us receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost and becoming part of the true church. He reminded us, we were grafted in.
I think there is a message to those who wish to claim they are so much like the apostles today: 5 times, 40 stripes, save one. 3 times, beaten with rods, 1 time stoned, and left for dead, 3 times shipwrecked. He went on to further state his qualifications: Often times in prison, in perils in water, in perils with robbers, in perils among his own countrymen, in perils by heathens, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea and in perils among false brethren.
And another thing that so many have tried to guess at for hundreds of years, a thorn in the flesh, that God would not remove. And he worked, for a living, so that no one could say that he was living off of the people. He was often rejected, and left all by himself.
Only God knows why I’m writing this. How many times did Paul exhort us to love one another, be forgiving of one another, to help and restore one another, to bear one another’s burdens and to be tenderhearted?
That, was the way the apostles presented themselves to the people who they came in contact with and wished to minister to; like a tender caretaker. The Book of Acts says, that by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people.
In fact, signs followed them, everywhere they went. God chose a particular man, with all of his shortcomings and many attempts to undo the Church, to bring the message of life to you and I. He was a martyr.
He counted it all joy; and he was forever in love, with Jesus.