Read: Acts 9:9-31
After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. Acts 9:23-25
What humiliation! Here Paul was, equipped to win the day for Jesus Christ. He was going to show the world how much he could do for this new Master that he had found. But instead he finds himself humiliated, cast off, rejected, repudiated. His own friends finally have to take him at night and let him down over a wall. He walks away into the darkness in utter, abject failure and defeat.
The amazing thing is that many years later, as he is writing to the Corinthians and looking back over his life, he recounts this episode. He says, You ask me to boast about the most important event in my life? The greatest event in my life was when they took me at night and let me down over the wall of Damascus in a basket. That was the most meaningful experience I have ever had since that day when I met Christ… (2 Corinthians 11:32-33).
Is that not amazing? Why would this be so? Because then and there the apostle began to learn the truths which he records for us in the third chapter of Philippians, where he says, Whatever gain I had, I learned to count as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus… (Philippians 3:7-8 RSV). That is, All the things that I felt were so necessary to do what God wanted I had to learn were absolutely useless, worthless. I did not need them at all. Everything that I thought I had and needed to serve him I had to learn I didn’t need at all. The beginning of that great lesson was the night they let me down over the wall in a basket. There I began to learn something. It took me a long time to catch on. But there I began to learn that God didn’t need my abilities; he needed only my availability. He just needed me, as a person. He didn’t need my background, he didn’t need my ancestry. He didn’t need my knowledge of Hebrew. He didn’t need my knowledge of the Law. He didn’t need these at all. In fact, he didn’t have any particular intention of using them to reach the Jews, he was going to send me to the Gentiles. And though he did not understand it fully then, he began to assume the yoke of Christ and to learn that which Jesus Christ says every one of us must learn if we are going to be useful to him.
Continue reading Ray Stedman – Learning Meekness