Last of all he appeared also to me – even though I am like someone whose birth was abnormal. For I am the least of all the apostles – I do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted God’s church. But by God’s grace I am what I am, and the grace that he gave me was not without effect. On the contrary, I have worked harder than any of the other apostles, although it was not really my own doing, but God’s grace working with me. (verses 8-10)
When I was in Sunday school I learnt lots about the superheroes of the Bible, people like Abraham, Moses, David, Peter and Paul. As I grew older I despaired that God could ever use a fallible person like me; he seemed to use only superstars. This was reinforced by the enormous respect pastors were treated with and the awesome reputation for goodness that they had. Someone had once suggested that I be a pastor, but I knew I could never be like that.
Then one day I read passages like the one above. Paul was no superstar! he was a fallible human being, one who had persecuted God’s church. The more I read, the more I found that the other superheroes weren’t super at all. They were frail, fallible, flawed – just like me. Perhaps pastors were too. And then I found that God wanted to use me too. He wanted me to do his work. Just as Paul must have done, I found it incredible. But it’s not. Made new by Jesus through his gift to me of forgiveness and new life, I too am Jesus’ servant. And so are you.
Father, I thank you that you use me and that I can serve you. Amen.
by Bob Turnbull, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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