original image by Raffaello Sanzio
Paul makes the bold claim that we are to follow him as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). While Paul was an amazing example to follow, he was still human and made two mistakes which we can all learn from. It seems from Scripture that Paul learns from his mistakes; my desire is that we would also.
Paul’s Sermon on Mars Hill
While in Athens, Paul made his famous speech on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-33). Centuries later, the Christian community has declared it as a model of great sermons. Paul dug into his intellectual prowess, identified a hook to hang his message, and delivered a clear and concise argument for the Athenians to believe in Christ.
Paul’s New Approach to Ministry
Although we have held this sermon in high regard, Paul seems to have felt differently. In most places Paul visited, he turned the city upside down. However, in Athens only a few believed. Therefore at his next ministry stop in Corinth, Paul turned from this strategy. He says of his new strategy that he came to them without eloquence or superior wisdom. In fact he resolved to know nothing except Jesus and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
Paul had converts in Athens, yet thankfully he could see the potential for more. Sometimes our successes hinder us from seeing what God could have done. God has many talented followers that can attract a following, but God wants our trust in Him. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Are we stepping out into situations where we would look foolish if God did not show up? Are we only trying things we can do in our own strength? Let us spend so much time with Jesus that we know Him well. Let our message be Him in us to such a degree that our lives are supernatural. Then our faith and those that follow us will not rest in man’s wisdom but God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:5).