Artists throughout history have portrayed the apostle Paul as a dynamic, handsome, decisive-looking man. While his appearance is unknown, I think it would surprise us if we met him. In 2 Cor. 11:23-30 he described the abuse he suffered, violence that had left scars, and the stresses he lived with. He would not look imposing, but his humility would impress us the most.
It is a paradox that a man so fruitful in the faith, so well-known, so accomplished through his writing, and so feared by his opponents should also possess a remarkable lowliness of spirit within himself.
Along with Paul all faithful servants of God possessed humility. This came from realizing they could accomplish nothing of any real value without the guidance and blessings of God. In fact, they understood that a man is really nothing of any consequence at all without the grace of God. Paul looked over his pre-Christian life of zeal for Judaism and declared it to be a big “loss” (Phil.3:8). But in Christ he found mercy and a much more valuable existence. “And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim.1:14). Jesus made Paul’s life exceptional, and this great man freely admitted it. All glory went to the Lord.
We can accomplish many good things in life, but if we claim all the credit we have failed. God wants His people to depend on Him at all times and to conduct ourselves with humility. No man is great without it, and we are all valuable if we have it.
– Tim Johnson