Acts 7:58 to Acts 8:3
In my final year at school, I knew a girl called Gail, who was the first year and she was a nuisance. I put her out of the school building when she was meant to be out in the playground many times. She was a toe rag, someone who just annoyed people and took great delight in doing so.
One of the Christian teachers decided to have a singalong at lunchtime to which any student would be allowed to attend. I attended these meetings and so did Gail. I thought that she went because it was the one time, she could cock a snoot at me and be seen by me and other senior students to be in building at lunchtime when on any other day we would have to put her out.
Many years later, I was at a Christian missions meeting, and a women came up to me smiled and shook hands with me. I did not recognize her until she reminded me of who she was. She said, “I am Gail” She was now a missionary. When I looked back to my school days, I thought that she was not paying attention to the words of the Christian songs or the bible readings or anything that the young Christians did. I am glad to say, I was wrong. God was speaking to her and drawing her to himself.
In this passage, we see someone else God was dealing with. Imagine that you have to interview candidates to become Christians and they present you with their qualifications. They say they are poor, dependent and sinful. That is what qualifies them.
You now consider the qualifications of a young man called Saul;
He was very well educated and articulate. He passionately hates the church to such an extent that he approved of Stephen being put to death. Indeed, he approved of it so much that he became one of the greatest leaders of those who persecuted the church and he put them in jail. Would you choose such a candidate? I know that it would not cross my mind that God would choose such a person, but God is not like us. He looks upon the heart and God chose Saul and called him Paul. He then went on to plant churches and teach with the same vehemence that he had persecuted the church. I expect it took some time for the early church to trust him for they would have been afraid of him. When he became a Christian, he would have realized there were other people who were just like he had been, and he would be persecuted and put in prison for his faith. However, he was Gods instrument to go to the Gentiles.
We still benefit from Gods choice of Paul for he wrote much of the new testament that still teaches the church today. God chooses the Gail’s and the Pauls even if they may seem like unlikely candidates to us. Are you an unlikely candidate? Are you someone who writes other people off thinking God will never use them? Perhaps God will surprise you as he surprised me