15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16
This is a great story of Saul persecutor becoming the Apostle Paul. It’s interesting to note what gets Paul’s attention. We first see him at the stoning of Stephen. He then starts his reign of terror on the Christians. Now Jesus knocks him off his horse and blinds him for a few days until he gets his sight restored by Ananias. By the way Ananias did not want to have anything to do with him. God had to call his middle name to have him lift a finger to heal Paul. What is so cool about this history is Paul takes a complete 180 so fast that all the believers at the time did not trust him. They thought it was some evil trap that he was going to spring on him. Paul spent so many years being “God’s man” with being a gifted Pharisee that he was accepted all the time by his peers. Paul was probably the guy who got the head nod by everyone in the room when he stepped in. I’m certain the other Pharisee’s saw him as a model of what a Pharisee should be. The name Saul means borrowed. It give me the idea that he was in great need in those “Christian infested areas.” You can hear the conversation; “Let’s get Saul, he knows what to do.”
Then Jesus changed his name to Paul, which means little. Paul went from the man most loved and feared to the most hated and small. When God said in verse 16 that he will have to suffer for Jesus’ sake I really think those first few days of his ministry was some major suffering by being looked at and untrusted by his new brothers. Paul became the hated new guy. Sometimes we go through this as believers, that we will be the hated new guy and have to build a reputation up in a new church. Paul did not speak for himself as you can see in the story, others vouched for his character and spoke for him. Then his new found family accepted him in. When faced with a new situation, like a new job, or a new church that God has called you to or a new ministry, don’t worry about your reputation. Focus on your character, because it you have good character your reputation will build itself under your good character.