The apostle Paul launched multiple missionary journeys, planted many churches, mentored several spiritual leaders, and wrote most of the letters recorded in the New Testament. We can surely learn “ONE THING” from him.
Do you admire Paul’s curriculum vitae (CV)? Paul said, “If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless” (Philippians 3: 4b-6). Furthermore, Paul stated that he was a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Under Gamaliel, a greatly esteemed teacher by all Jews, Paul was thoroughly trained in the law and was zealous for God (Acts 22). Wow, is that stunning!
Have you ever used the phrase — forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead — to encourage someone who goes through setback? This phrase is taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which connects to his listing of glamorous successes above. It is not about his friends or him facing failure and needing words of comfort. To our surprise, Paul likened his wealth of knowledge, experiences and established credentials to rubbish (Philippians 3: 7-11). Yikes!
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13b-14). That is Paul’s work ethic and his worldview of ministry. Paul knew where he was heading and why it was a worthwhile pursuit. He strived and thrived along his journey. He did not dwell on his past but looked ahead for growth and new opportunities.
This is the ONE THING we can learn from Paul’s life of resilience. Let’s embrace a growth mindset and fix our eyes on the author and perfection of our faith. Be salt and light! Be faithful and fruitful. Be a Christ-like servant leader. This is what counts: May our study, work, relationships, families, school and everything else bring honour and glory to God!