Wouldn't you think that Jesus would want someone who not only believed the message, but someone enthusiastic about it, instead of someone who was determined to destroy it?
Of course Paul's conversion itself sent the most powerful message possible; a man turned 360 degrees in belief and life. But I think there was something more, Jesus wanted a man of passion and Paul was certainly that. Under the power of the Spirit, that passion was harnessed to make him one of the greatest evangelists the world has ever known. In the words of FF Bruce, “no single event, apart from the Christ-event itself, has proved so determinant for the course of Christian history as the conversion and commissioning of Paul” (1977, 75).
I've been asking myself, what's my passion? What's the ultimate driving force of my life? What would I give my life for?
At the far end of the town, just outside Balliol College, stands the Victorian spire-like Martyrs' Memorial. On this spot Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were burned at the stake for their faith, refusing to recant. I stood at the foot of that memorial and wept ... imagining what it must have been like to be slowly consumed by fire, yet remaining faithful to Jesus. I couldn't comprehend the courage that must have taken. It is said that Latimer told his friend, "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
I'm convinced that God is not looking for great orators, gifted teachers or even mighty evangelists. I'm convinced he's looking for passionate hearts ... hearts that want a relationship with him more than anything else in this world ... hearts that want to live for him no matter what the cost.
What's the greatest passion of your life?