Vol. 2, No. 14 – 2017
When I was still in my mother’s womb, He chose me and called me out of sheer generosity!. Galatians 1:15 (paraphrased)
There was once a motivated bull in a china closet; he was a runaway freight train. His name was Saul, and he was headed toward Damascus; down the tracks toward a sudden stop. He was a religious zealot, a legalist in the full sense in his prime—so he thought. In addition, he was seen as a Rabbi, and a highly intelligent man.
Now he becomes the Apostle Paul.
My message came by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ himself—no one else taught me. Something happened . . . (I was shown) undeserved mercy! Galatians 1:12, 15
It was like a 9.9 scale earthquake—his life was impacted like no other time in his existence. Now this Jewish leader, the legalist, was to be forever different. That happens to leaders and following leaders who listen, instead of mumbling through life.
Sometimes people dismiss total change in a person. It is said that a psychologist suggested that in the conversion of Saul he was greatly troubled by his conscience, because of his cruelty to Christians. On the way to Damascus some physical malady (perhaps an epileptic fit) precipitated an approaching crisis and made him imagine that he had caught a vision of Christ. What a foolish scholar!
This leader was not changed by imagination, nor by any psychological/chemical reaction; he was totally changed to be Someone he had never been. What happened along the highway was real. Warren Wiersbe paraphrases Saul’s words in verse 15, “God did it! God had designs on me!” Even Saul’s name was changed to Paul.
The change is through the grace of Christ. God, because of mercy and grace, stops him and changes him, 180 degrees. When Paul cries out (as depicted in Acts 26:15-18), the voice of Christ answers:
I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now stand up! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and my witness.
Paul has a new assignment as a leader. His leadership will take him a totally different direction from his past experience. His leadership will also place him in a position to develop following leaders.
God’s grace became a tremendous motivation. He was no longer self-centered; self left the premises. He could have chosen to remain a Jewish Rabbi; he could have replaced Gamaliel—but he chose to commit his life to right leadership with a focus on others.
This man who was named Saul, now Paul, cannot help but allow his change to influence his life and those surrounding him. That is what true leaders do!
Everything comes from Him
Everything exists by His power
Everything is intended for His glory Romans 11:36
My life was completely changed 52 years ago following the preaching of Mason Cooper. Life change offered an opportunity to be a following leader in business, ministry, and education. Pastor Mason Cooper went home to be with the Lord in January of this year at the age of 97. I miss the times of our conversations. He was a great following leader to follow, because he followed The Leader. How is your leadership working out for you?