Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 9, 1964

A Great Man

Luther Blackmon

The measure of a great man is not his bank account or a string of degrees or his name in "Who's Who." After the conversion of Saul of Tarsus I doubt that he had a bank account or even an insurance policy. If the saints in Rome didn't have a chance to give him a decent burial, it is likely that his tired old body was laid to rest in a potter's field. While millionaires come and go and are forgotten; great philanthropists are remembered because their names decorate a marble plaque on a building somewhere; kings and queens become names in dusty history books, but Paul lives in the hearts of every reader of the New Testament. He was not a great man by the standards of the world, but all the money in the world cannot buy, all the bloodshed on battlefields from the slaughter of the kings to the "Bay of Pigs" cannot give a man what Paul had when he marched out under blue Italian skies to keep his date with the headsman. This is the measure of real greatness, a life spent in faithful service to God. A man is not great because of who he is or what he has, but because of what he does. Paul did things. Paul was great because:

1. He could change when he learned he was wrong, From the greatest enemy of Christianity, he became its greatest advocate.

2. He could feel godly sorrow for sin, He never ceased to feel remorse at the thought of his early life when he persecuted the church. He mentioned it repeatedly. Some people are sorry they got caught or sorry they have marred their reputation or just sorry. But only godly sorrow works repentance. And godly sorrow is being sorry that one has sinned against God.

3 In his humility, he had self respect. He said to the high priest who commanded him to be smitten on the mouth, "God shall smite thee; thou whited wall." He said to the men who were sent to release him from prison after he had been shamefully treated, "They have beaten us openly and uncondemned, being do they thrust us out privily? Nay, verily. But let them come themselves and fetch us out." Paul demanded respect. A man does not have to be a groveling coward to be a Christian.

4. He was able to compare values and choose the best. He disdained the advantages of birth and education to become a poor and, by the world, despised preacher. He said, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ."

5. He never looked back. "....forgetting the things that are behind, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling...." Some members of the church are more concerned about what they left behind than what is before them. They have too much conscience to quit altogether and not enough religion to enjoy doing what is right. They are frustrated, and always will be until they stop looking back at the world.

6. He had a purpose. He wasn't just fighting the air. He was going somewhere and he knew where he was going and why. Some are like young people on a hayride. They are just going, drifting aimlessly, as far as spiritual matters are concerned.

7. He had faith in the outcome, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

— La Porte, Texas