From our earliest days of driver’s training, we quickly learn the importance of making sure that the gear shift is pointing at the right letter. We have learned that there is a tremendous difference between a car being in neutral, drive, or park.
Personally and ministerially, it is wise to inspect whether we are in neutral, drive, or park.
Most folks just starting in ministry begin with a burst of excitement and a high-energy level. It can be laborious and taxing. Because of this, it is sometimes easy to cruise for a little while by putting things in neutral and to stop pushing. When this happens, momentum almost always comes to a stop, and soon no progress is being made.
God’s Word challenges us to keep pressing on. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them…” (2 Timothy 3:14).
One of the great examples of the Christian walk is found in the life of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul finished his course. He ran the race that God had set before him until God called him home. I believe that there are several precepts found in the life of the Apostle Paul that can be used as examples for us today.
The Apostle Paul never forgot the day his life changed. No matter where Paul went, he loved to tell people about the Damascus Road experience. He would tell them how he once was an accuser of the brethren, but he became a representative for the King of kings and Lord of lords. “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:3, 6).
The Apostle Paul never forgot that he had a mission. This great missionary realized that his life was about planting churches and seeing people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The attacks thrown at him by Satan—which ranged from shipwrecks to stonings to serpents to floggings—did not deter him. He knew what God wanted him to do, and he was determined to do it. “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us” (Acts 16:9).
The Apostle Paul never forgot that it was not about him, but it was about the Saviour. Some people complained when others would follow other spiritual leaders. But for Paul, it was not about who would receive the accolades or the followship because it was all about people coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not care if people followed Apollos, he cared about them coming to know the Saviour (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22).
The Apostle Paul never forgot whose he was. Paul made it clear that he was bought with a price, and that he was not his own. The spirit of being a bond servant who had voluntarily given up his rights to his Master permeated every aspect of the Apostle Paul’s life (1 Corinthians 7:23).
With these principles firmly rooted in his life, the Apostle Paul lived a life that impacted countless people for the cause of Christ. For Paul, neutral and park were not an option. The casual observer could see what was important to Paul. What do observers see in our lives? People heard what had happened to Paul, and they saw the results in his life. His life is a challenge to every believer to tell others what has happened in our lives and to show how God is working in and through us.