God chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary during her pregnancy and would be called the father of Jesus. He was not Mr. Successful who graduated from a prestigious private university. He was a carpenter! Jesus could have called disciples with any profession, but primarily chose fishermen not a well-educated group of men. Matthew was a despised tax collector…considered dregs among the Jews. Simon the Zealot was active in a Jewish patriotic party who resisted Roman aggression and definitely not in the mainstream of society. Luke was a Physician but would not be considered an esteemed leader in the community. There were a couple of respected Jewish leaders noted in the Gospels, well educated in the law, Pharisees, and esteemed in their community who became His disciples (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea). Yet, Jesus did not choose the latter two men to be core to His ministry leadership. Why is that?
1 Corinthians 1:26-27 makes things clear, “26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.” The cross of Christ is a stumbling block to the educated who are puffed up by their own knowledge.
Paul the Apostle was an exception to the rule, “4 If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage (or dung), that I may gain Christ” (1 Philippians 3:4-8).
Please don’t get caught up with your accomplishments and prioritize the things of this world marginalizing Jesus. If you have worked hard to have a wonderful education and a career that is considered super successful, I pray that this is not the foremost purpose of your life. Paul the Apostle was considered extraordinarily successful rocking the Jewish world first with his career. He came to the conclusion that he had been blinded by stature and his own power realizing that his worldly accomplishments were “dung, excrement, trash or rubbish” (depending how you interpret the original Greek noun). To him, the things of this world compared to eternity and the joy, compassion, and peace of Jesus are crap! Paul came to the conclusion that “God’s grace is sufficient, for his power is made perfect in my weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let this Bible verse marinate in your soul and learn from Him what real success is.
One thought on “What Paul the Apostle Called “Dung””
Wow. This was just what I needed to start my day. I will marinate on this. I thank my Jesus for your clarity.