…though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8).
Think of Paul, think of greatness. You will not think of him as the least of saints at all. Apart from Jesus Christ, he is the greatest personality in Christian history. He single handedly authored 13 of the 27 books of the new testament. Rightly so, he counts himself to have worked harder than any of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Apart from his Christian achievements, he studied under the most prestigious teacher of his time—Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, 22:3). It has been said that if Paul were to live in our modern civilisation, he would have possessed the equivalent of two Phds. Added to all these, he was “… a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city (Acts 21:39 KJV). He came from a prominent city. Even today, people boast of their place of birth. If you are a believer, no doubt you admire Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ ( 1Corinthians 1:1).
All these credentials will engender any human being to pride. But not Paul. He had a proper view of himself and didn’t allow any of his achievements to get into his head. Too often, in the name of faith and spirituality, some believers assume a posture of pride and arrogance in their abilities, talents and achievements. Paul was a great man, yet he counted himself as the least of all the saints. Elsewhere, he counted himself as the chief of sinners.
Now, having a proper view of one’s self is not thinking negatively of our abilities or who we are. It is not looking down on ourself. Rather, it is thinking of one’s self in light of the grace of God. Paul formerly was a persecutor of the church and does acknowledge he wasn’t worthy to be called an apostle. What then made the difference in Paul’s life was the grace of God. And if it is by grace, he has nothing to boast of in himself. All he became as Paul was a result of God’s grace. That’s where our greatness lie—in the grace of God. Whatever gifts we possess. Whatever great deeds we accomplish, the biblical mandate is that “no human being [should] boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:29).