I am the least of the apostles—unworthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not wasted. Instead, I strove harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9–10
God determined that Jeremiah would be a prophet before he was even born. He grew up in a priestly family and God impelled him into service when he was quite young. God appointed Paul, too, for this kind of service at the time of his birth. While Paul studied to become a rabbi, God refrained from calling him until, in his zeal for God, Paul had become God’s enemy—in Paul’s view “the chief of sinners.” In the case of both men, God was pleased to launch them on trajectories that would cause them to impact the lives of many people by introducing them to the joys of living in Christ’s kingdom. We fall on the continuum somewhere between Jeremiah and Paul, both regarding the timing and the nature of our appointments. By his grace the Father called us into fellowship with the Son, putting us into a position to affect the lives of others for their good. Our family of origin is irrelevant; the sins of our past are irrelevant. What is relevant, what does matter, is that we don’t let the grace of God go to waste. What matters is that we co-operate enthusiastically with God’s activity. Fortunately, God’s grace doesn’t just call us, it continues with us!
For this purpose, Lord, may I diligently labor, according to your power that powerfully works in me. Amen.