In 2 Corinthians we see a long list of Paul’s sufferings that have come his way during his time as a minister of the gospel. Starting in 2 Corinthians 11:24, Paul writes:
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
Paul was so committed to the call God had placed upon him that he continued the work even as he faced such pains. Knowing the cost did not deter him. Christ was more precious to him than anything else.
This passage about Paul reminds me of the quote that Henry Varley spoke to D.L. Moody, “the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” That certainly was Paul’s desire–to live his life for someone else, no matter the cost. As he pursued this goal, being used by God, Paul helped to change the world. And that is just what will happen when one gives themselves fully to God.