The reading for today is from Galatians 1:11-24.
For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.
Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.
I am normally not into long sections of text for my devotions. I try to narrow it down to what I want to focus on. This may be a result of years of youth ministry where you can sometimes lose a young person in a long string of text. But when I read today's Scripture, I knew I needed to keep it all in have it at the top of the devotion.
Paul is upfront in this portion of his letter to the churches of Galatia. He was not a fan of Christianity at the beginning and early Christians had every reason to distrust him. He saw them as evil and a corruption of the faith. He went out of his way to hunt down those who followed this guy named Jesus. But then Paul literally and figuratively saw the light. But even then, it took him three years before he began his ministry. He worked to get to know people and prove that this change of heart was true and inspired by the Holy Spirit. I am sure there were disbelievers and those who initially disregarded Paul.
And through all of this, Paul gets to the end and sums this up brilliantly - And they glorified God because of me. Paul understood none of this is about him. He was just the person God used to make His point. Through Paul, God was able to reach people so that they would bring glory to God. We need to be like Paul. We have to realize that God can use every part of our story and life for His Glory. We just have to be open to let God do what He does.
Lord, thank you for your messengers. May we hear your Word through them. Amen
Chad Ryberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: For those stuck in the past.