“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Paul was called to receive the gift of salvation so that others might come to a saving faith as well. We know this is true from Paul’s own testimony, but also from the example of his life. Do you know who else was saved so that others might come to a saving relationship with Jesus? You were! So was I. So was every person who is a follower of Jesus or who has ever been in the past. God gives us the gift of salvation not only for ourselves, but so that others might come to a saving knowledge of Him through us. In other words: If you have been blessed by God, the purpose of that blessing was so that you might be a blessing to others.
This blessing can come in many different ways, but one of the most powerful is your own story. Paul’s certainly was. And as far as stories go, his has a lot of flash. Stories like Paul’s can leave the rest of us whose stories aren’t quite so flashy and fancy feeling insecure about our testimony. And yet, if God has indeed moved in your life, there is power in that story. There is always power in the action of God and, again, it is never for its own sake.
Here’s a good challenge, then: Spend some time thinking about your own story and how God might use your story to impact the life of another person in the direction of the kingdom. What were you into before He brought you to His throne? What sins were you caught up in committing? What was the state of your relationships? How was your heart? Were you proud? Did you think you were enough in and of yourself for the task of living well? What has changed since then? How has God taught you grace and humility? What are some of the ways you love better now than you did then? How does God minister to you on a regular basis through His action in your life? Has He taught you any powerful lessons through brushes with adversity or hardship? How are you stronger since then?
More broadly, what is your story? How has Jesus demonstrated His “immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life”? This is why you were called in the first place. This is why God saved you, the chief of sinners. It is why He saved me, the chief of sinners.