When Jesus called Saul to become the outstanding apostle that God had predestined him to be, He put it in these terms:
. . . this man is My chosen vessel to carry My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and sons of Israel.
What a commission! Huge. Daunting. Remarkable.
But he fulfilled it!
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but as this commission indicates, he would also carry the message to Jews as well. The Book of Acts is the record of what the Spirit of God can do through one man who gave His whole life over to the work of the Lord. Paul (his new Christian name) carried the Gospel throughout Jerusalem, Palestine, Asia Minor, and southern Europe. On a map superimposed over a map of the United States, if you start with Antioch in Syria (located exactly over top of Washington D.C), you will discover that he travelled as far as Pierre, South Dakota! And that was in a day when travel was not only difficult, but dangerous. Along the way there were thieves and cutthroats; there were shipwrecks and rough terrain; there were beatings, stonings, and imprisonments and betrayals, awaiting him. You name it—if it was bad, Paul probably experienced it! But in spite of it all, at the end of his life he was able to say that he had finished the course, fought the good fight, and was ready to receive the crown of righteousness that was laid up for him at the conclusion of the race.
You are no apostle Paul; as you are well aware. But, on the other hand, the means of transportation and communication are nowhere as simple, uncertain and slow as they were in his day. So, in one way you are at a disadvantage; in another at a decided advantage. Could you, then, become a modern day approximation of the apostle? Only if it is God’s will, and you are fully committed to it.
You will not hear a voice from heaven punctuated by a sudden blinding light. You will not be given specific directions as to your commission. But, given the principles that you possess from your study of the Scriptures, given the possibilities that the modern scene affords, if God has a special task for you to do, you will be able to stack up those principles beside your gifts, resources and opportunities, and the burning desire to serve, in such a way as to help you decide what to do with your life in the service of your heavenly King.
Whatever it is—Paul-like in effect or not—your challenge is to become in your heart’s desire, dedication, and devotion what the Apostle was. Whether the outcome of your ministry (formal or informal) looks even slightly like the outcome of his ministry or not, really doesn’t matter—if your concern stretches from D.C. to Pierre! And if your decisions conform to the Scriptures. Have you determined how you will spend the future? How you will serve the Lord Who died for you? If not, isn’t it time to do so? Don’t wait for a voice from the sky!