Paul: He came to Jesus with his hands full of earthly gifts. He had the best schooling, high status and power among the Jews.
How were both men able to do great things in their service to God?
Peter: God gave him everything he needed to serve. Through the Holy Spirit, God gave Peter the courage to stand and the eloquence to move thousands with speech (Acts 2).
Paul: God took away everything he had so he could realize what was of true worth—the knowledge of Jesus—and thus make huge sacrifices for service. By the end of his life, Paul boasted only of his own weakness (2 Cor 11:30).
How does this work today? Some examples:
We are assigned to do something for Him that we feel we aren’t qualified to do, making us rely on Him to give us the abilities and talents we need to do it. (Ex: Moses)
We lose something big (job, educational opportunity, etc.), only to find that we have gained something else bigger (an understanding of His will, the lesson of submission, spiritual growth). (Ex: Joseph)
The process by which God shapes His servants is one of the most amazing to witness. It’s incredible how wonderfully wise and loving He is. And it’s even more incredible how little we understand of the process of our own growth. Thinking about this brings to mind these verses:
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
We need to trust in the goodness of His will and hold fast to our first love. Because then He will complete the work in us.
Points to ponder:
What is something that God has given you to help you serve Him?
What is something that God has taken away?
How have these impacted the way that you serve Him?