“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Act 20:24).
Emerson said, “The hero is no braver than the ordinary man; he just fights five minutes longer.” Perseverance in the face of difficulty is a quality that is indispensable in the lives of those who leave a lasting mark on this world.
Paul was a man of indefatigable resilience. He makes the energizer bunny look like a Australian sloth! In his own words, which are filled with a passionate faith as he surveys the gloomy prospects of impending persecution, he says, “None of these things move me.”
We will come back to this tomorrow, but first let’s look at all that Paul endured as he pressed forward in faithfulness to Christ. Here is his own testimony:
“I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day.
“In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers.
“I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches.” (2 Co 11:23-28, The Message).
Theodore Roosevelt said, “There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering.” The Psalmist said it best, “Thou hast enlarged me in distress” (Psa.4:1). Yep, it takes real pressure to make a stunning diamond.
If ever any one proved the old adage that you can’t keep a good man down, it was the apostle Paul. Tomorrow we will look at the four things that marked Paul as the Immovable Man. Maybe these things are true of you, also.