If God ever wrote a want ad, looking for an apostle, maybe it would include some of the qualifications below. That may seem like a silly idea, but it was a way to begin to appreciate the remarkable career of someone who changed the course of Christianity forever. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it years ago when I began to realize just what one person had accomplished and the extraordinary qualifications he brought to the work. Many have requested this after hearing it in talks, so I hope you enjoy. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…” (Matt. 9: 37). Indeed!
- Must have a practical trade whereby he can support himself and not be obligated to those he serves.
- Must be able to relate to and interact with all classes and types of people, from philosophers (Mars Hill) to tradesmen (Ephesus silversmiths and tentmakers), to politicians, government officials, women, wealthy, poor and slaves.
- Must have an ability and willingness for public speaking (including to crowds who don’t like the message) in an articulate, thoughtful, persuasive and heartfelt way.
- Must have a working knowledge of Hebrew and know the Scriptures about Me collected by my people, Israel, as well as understand the culture of the Temple and synagogue in which they worship.
- Must be able to speak and write Greek, the language that the educated Gentile world uses and understands.
- Must have demonstrated the ability to work in My vineyard, study My Law, be obedient to My teachings as best they understand them.
- Must be freeborn and have a passport, i.e. Roman citizenship, in order to move freely throughout My world,
- Must have significant spiritual receptivity, conviction, courage, and trust in Me, not himself or his own intellect or willpower.
- Must have enormous nurturing abilities to express patience, tenderness, and care for those who don’t always get it, who backslide, who need course correcting.
- Must have enough life experience that he isn’t fooled by the ways of the tempter, and is able to discern between My voice and that of the carnal mind
- Must have the faith and courage to hear My voice in the darkest hours, such as in prison, and to consistently stand against envy, ignorance, greed, and hatred.
- Must be on fire with the clarity and truth of the message I will provide along with indefatigable energy to walk, sail, or ride thousands of miles over three decades.
In short, ‘I’m looking for Saul of Tarsus who I will transform into Paul.’
And must be willing to endure occasional extreme hardship? i.e. “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.[a] I… Read more »
Imaginative, and true.
Thank you for all that you do.
Maddie, I so admire your consistent honest imagination. You couldn’t have put it better. Paul had no idea what he was getting into when he said “yes” to Christ. Like so many of us, it was OJT — on the job training. What a great “measure” for us to give ourselves a performance review. Thank you, thank you.
This is well done! Despite your intro I started reading this as a generic want ad, not really registering who was writing it. But when I got to the “Me” and “My” references I stopped and really realized that this was God talking. Re-reading, I was taken with the specificity in God’s description of the qualifications and of the implicit confidence that the person who responded would be able to handle the work. I wonder how He would have responded if a woman had replied? I guess that happened a few centuries later, didn’t it?
Where is the EEO Statement of hiring practices in your ad? For example:
God is an Equal Opportunity Employer. God does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
Paul’s mysterious “thorn in his side” did not prevent him from applying for this job under the EEOC. No special accommodations were required.
I loved this and it reminded me of my Christian Science Association assignment in 2013 to write a job description for a disciple. It was a labor of love.
That’s so inspired, so humbling, to think of Paul’s transformation, and all he contributed- he was certainly the right person for that job! Thank you, Madelon!
Yes, your understanding of Paul’s role in Christianity is marvelous. I thoroughly enjoyed this -and the cadre of deep and creative comments by your followers, each renewed in the commitment to Christ through Paul.
Wonderful! A friend thought these were also great qualifications for a prison Chaplain or Assistant, so I’ve shared them with our institutional committee. How interesting that Saul was the one appointed–through his transformation to Paul, he developed complete trust in God and not in his own abilities.
Thank you, Madelon, for this insightful compilation. Not many men or women fit the role. I look forward to being with you in the near future.
Thank you for this thoughtful description. I have often thought that it was Saul’s zeal and love for God that opened the way to become Paul, but his transformation also enabled him to have the humility and patience to reach the gentile converts.
Thank you for sharing this want ad for an Apostle. If we think about Mother Mary
and her want ad…..wow what a list that would be.
*Must be able to overcome shame.
Thank you for this interesting perspective of Paul. It makes you stop and think about what each of us brings to our service of divine Love.
Thanks so much for this thoughtful appreciation of Paul, Madelon. Even though you didn’t use the term ‘bold’ as you’ve pointed out in the past, it sure comes through in many of the qualifications you listed. One of the specific skills of Paul that I’m appreciating more lately is this ability and willingness to write! When you consider that neither Jesus nor any of his immediate followers left anything in writing, it’s an extremely important gift that he left for the rest of us.