I recently started reading the book of Romans during my quiet time, and I found the first verse fascinating.
It says, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”
In that one verse Paul answers three critical questions about himself. Three questions that I think we all need to answer for ourselves, especially if we want to make a difference in our world.
Here they are.
Question 1. Who or what am I a slave to?
The easy, spiritual answer is obvious. But if I look deeper, there are several options I could choose from.
Is it the opinions of people I admire?
The whims of my boss?
The balance of my 401k?
The fashion of the day?
The reactions of my friends?
The adoration of my child?
Does it change based on my situation? The time of day? The season of my life?
Question 2. Who am I called to be? / What am I called to do?
Who am I? Really? Am I trying to be someone I’m not? How hard am I striving to be the person I was created to be?
What am I designed for? What have I been created and called to do?
How is my calling different from my career? How well do they co-exist in my life?
Question 3. What have I been set apart for?
What was I placed on Earth to do — that no one else on Earth can do as well as me?
What specific role am I to fulfill?
What piece of the puzzle am I?
Where do I “fit” in the big picture?
Paul says he is a slave of Jesus. Not the Roman government. Not the local synagogue. It is much easier to please JUST one than to try to please EVERY one! And if the ONE we’re living to please is Jesus, then we know everything else will work out for our good and His glory.
Paul says he was called to be a special messenger. He knew what his career was (tentmaking) and what his calling was (preaching). Being a God-follower and fulfilling our calling does not necessarily mean quitting our job and going to the mission field. Most of the time God wants us following Him right where we are.
And Paul knew that he was set apart specifically to share God’s good news — especially with the Gentiles (see verse 5). No two of us have the same perspective. No two of us have had the same experiences. God has placed each of us where we are for a purpose. There are people in our path that we are perfectly designed to reach, to touch, to connect with.
Paul’s role was a unique piece of the puzzle.
So is mine.
So is yours.
But in order to fulfill our roles we need to find the answers to those questions.