“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10
When did you come to faith in Christ? You might be one who was raised in the church and came to faith at such a young age that you do not remember a day when you did not trust Jesus. Or you might be one like me who did not name Jesus as Lord and Savior until becoming an adult. For those who came to faith early in life, those who came to faith later in life might seem to have a “powerful testimony”. But to those whose faith came later, most – if not all – wish they would not have wasted so many years being outside of Christ.
Paul is one who came to faith later in his life. We do not know exactly how old he was when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, but we know that he was already an educated Jew before his conversion (Acts 22:3), so he likely was in his thirties.
It is easy to dwell on the past and mourn the wasted years living apart from Christ. In the verses leading up to verse ten, it seems like Paul was doing the same thing. He says that he is unworthy to be called an apostle because he persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9). Then in verse ten Paul says that God’s grace towards him was not in vain. God had a plan when He called Paul and His timing was perfect. God did not call Paul too late or too early; God called Paul when He was ready for Paul to come to Him and carry out the plan God had for him (Acts 9:15-16).
At the same time, it is not wrong to have a sense of urgency about the rest of our life if our union with Christ came later in life. Paul says later in verse ten that he “worked harder than any of them” – “them” being the other apostles who were all called earlier than Paul. He must have felt that in a sense that he had to work harder than them since they had more experience. This is not a bad thing, but in any case, Paul made sure to say whatever works he did, it was not him but God’s grace within him.
If you are one who was called to faith as an adult, do not mourn the years lost living for yourself, but be joyful that God has called you in His perfect timing. He will restore the years the locust has destroyed (Joel 2:25) and accomplish all that He has planned for you.
Prayer of the day:
Dear heavenly Father,
Before coming to faith in Christ, we were all dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), so there is no such thing as a boring testimony because there is no such thing as a boring resurrection. Thank you for saving us in Your perfect timing. Help us to glorify you in the calling you have given us no matter how many years we have wasted. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!