12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
These were the words of Paul to Timothy. Paul certainly did not start out as a saint or a follower of Christ. We first meet Paul, or Saul, in Acts when he approves the stoning of Stephen. We hear in Acts 8:2-3 that “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” In Acts 9, Saul is converted when healed by Ananias, becomes Paul and began preaching the word of the Lord.
The grace of God changed Saul. With God’s love and mercy, he abandoned his evil ways and became Paul. How has God’s grace transformed us? How has God’s grace changed you?
We are all sinners. Our sins may not compare to Paul’s first life. But we are all sinners in some form. As you look back at the past week, what would you do differently if you had the chance? Is there anyone you should make amends to?
Paul does not take credit for his transformation. He does not take credit for the works that he does in Christ’s name. He gives all the credit and the glory to God. What gifts and talents has God given you? How are you giving back to God by sharing your gifts and talents?
Our world is your world, Lord.
You have given us the gifts, the blessings and the teachings
we need to change this world, to have your will done on earth as it is in heaven.
Paul changed his world after he himself was changed by your love.
When we love each other despite our differences,
when we share our gifts and talents freely with each other,
when we use the physical resources you have given this world wisely without plunder,
and when we seek to help others before ourselves,
that is when we make a difference in this world, one person at a time.
I can make a difference in this world, Lord.
You have given me the gifts, the blessings and the teachings I need.
You have given me your grace and your love.
To You, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.