It’s such a blessing to be called into ministry. We must not forget from where we’ve come and what we’ve experienced because of God’s mercy that brings us to where we are today. It’s a blessing, an entrustment of a stewardship, a high calling to serve in the Kingdom. And no one is outside this call within the church to contribute to the cause of Christ.
But the moment we begin to think we’re something, our effectiveness for His kingdom depletes as we seek approval for ourselves. Willing praise to God becomes tainted with something that now is unworthy of God’s name being on it. And the fall of us is even greater.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy puts Paul’s view of his ministry in perspective. He remembers where he’s come from and the mercy he’s been shown. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. We think of Paul and how awful of a human being he was. Paul was a terrorist. But for some reason God chose to show him mercy because of his great sin. The lesson for me is there is no one too far gone to be reached with the message of God’s grace. Paul’s story is one that should encourage us not to give up on anyone, that each person has a chance.
The trustworthy statement still applies today. It needs full acceptance because we’ve forgotten Jesus came to save sinners. And maybe we’ve even forgotten that we are sinners sometimes. I admit, as we all should, Jesus has unfortunately been made into a good luck charm, something to call on when we’re in trouble, to keep us safe from harm, and to make us look good in front of our friends and neighbors. But do we remember that He came into the world to save sinners–and I’m the worst? Maybe our comparison to the next person on our goodness or greatness should instead be something toward the affect of our desperate need for mercy from God!
Remembering what Christ saved us from is something we shouldn’t forget, but remember. We should remember what we were, know what we are now, and forever be found in a state of thankfulness toward God for His mercy toward us.
Not to discredit Paul, but each story of salvation is another example of God’s patience. Paul’s story declares the message of the need for salvation to the rest of us. If God can save a terrorist like Paul, surely He can save those who are not and others who are! What sinner is found with a great enough sin to be kept from God’s grace if a converted terrorist wrote half the New Testament?! Oh, the amazing patience and grace and love of God! His mercy is great. And glory only does belong to Him!
Now the application. I’m not worthy of this. But God has considered me trustworthy enough to carry this ministry. He gives me strength. God’s mercy is great and He has shown it to me firsthand. I may not have literally killed anyone or blasphemed, but my actions and thoughts have done something similar. I’ve hated. I thought things. But God uses my failures to display His great strength and patience with me so as an example “for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.” May I never forget God’s mercy toward me. May I always remember that each person, no matter how great the sin, has just as much need for the message of grace as I do. God be praised!