U R like Paul…more than U think
Sneered at, betrayed, rejected, abused, held back in ministry….yes, that’s the Paul we rarely think about. But, if you look at his life through the filter of today’s metrics for a growing ministry, he probably had more “failures” than “successes”.
Pick five of his experiences below that have happened to you in some painful manner:
1. He faced hypocrisy from fellow Christian leaders. Gal.2:13
2. He was deserted by a protégé, John Mark in Acts 13:46, and later by a partner in ministry, Demas
3. Some were embittered against him. Acts 14:2
4. He was stoned, dragged out of the city, and left for dead. Acts 14:19
5. He faced great dissension over his stand on circumcision. Acts 15:1-2
6. He had a sharp disagreement and separation from long time friend Barnabas. Acts 15:39
7. He was not allowed by the Spirit to go minister where he wanted to go. Acts 16:6-7
8. He was left in prison for two years. Some scholars think he did no writing during this first long prison stay. Acts 24:27
9. He was sneered at by the intellectuals. Acts. 17:32
10. God allowed him to continue suffering from a thorn in the flesh…he didn’t get the answer to prayer he wanted. 2Cor. 12:7-9
11. He spent his last years in house arrest without ever returning to the missionary travels he had formerly pursued so passionately. Acts 28:30
12. Even the New Testament letters he wrote were not immediately accepted by many in his day. It was long after his death before they were widely viewed as scripture.
Most would agree Paul had many more failures and disappointments than we have had:
@ 3 years into ministry he was in an exhausting struggle for the faith.
@ 30 years into ministry he was in house arrest for the rest of his life.
@ 300 years after his death God had taken Paul’s Lord, his letters, and his “Timothies” and saturated the known world.
@ 2000 years after his life God had persons in New York memorizing Phil. 4:13 to help them face their day.
How about your life-ministry @ 3years, @ 30 years, @ 300 years…..You can’t really see most of what God is doing through your faithful Christ-following.
Success and failure are shallow terms….we serve a deep God. www.everywherechurch.com