James H. Cagle
The Bible says, “ Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (‘that for which I am apprehended in Christ Jesus’ v.12): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3: 13, 14).
The apostle Paul was a very busy man. He was busy going from town to town preaching the Gospel and establishing churches. He made and sold tents to provide for himself and his companions. He spent time writing or dictating letters to be written to the churches. He spent time in jail. He spent time as a prisoner of Rome in a ship on the seas.
All the while that Paul was setting and reaching goals in his public ministry he was also setting and reaching his personal goals.
Paul was a success in his public ministry and the church today is the benefactor of that success. Paul was also a success in reaching his personal goals and the church is the benefactor of that as well.
Paul’s public ministry impacted untold numbers of people and changed them forever. Paul experienced success in his public ministry because he experienced success in his personal life. Paul’s spiritual success in his personal life was the impetus for his public ministry.
As Paul was growing in his relationship with Christ and attaining greater knowledge of Him and experiencing His grace and power to live a righteous life, Paul sought to teach and share with others what he learned that they to might experience the same thing. By Paul personally focusing solely on Jesus Christ and making His will and work his priority he experienced spiritual development that others less concentrated on Jesus Christ did.
Paul’s personal development and spiritual attainment were key to his successful public ministry. Paul said, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9: 27).
When the Christian becomes a person of “one thing” like Paul was, then, like him they will be greatly used by God. When the Christian is single-minded and focused and concentrating on “one thing” as described in our text, all the energy, power, and force of their being that is directed toward accomplishing God’s will is then enhanced by the grace of God, and they’re able to make a big difference in the lives of people.
Because many ministers of the Gospel put their priority on their public service instead of on their relationship with God, they’re ineffective in their public ministry.
Because Paul kept his priorities right and stayed focused on “one thing,” his personal relationship with God and his spiritual development, he was a success in his public ministry and was able to say in the end, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim.4: 7).
Sickness came into my life:
As I was introduced to cancer.
I waltzed away from the familiar,
A forced and unwilling dancer.
Cancer embraced and carried me away
Into the fearful and the unknown.
Into the darkness, out of control,
Where my life seemed no longer my own.
Feeling helpless and overwhelmed;
My soul fell wounded in the dirt.
I was angry, and felt so alone,
I felt unfairly beaten and hurt.
I realized then I was losing my war,
That my response was wrong from the start.
I could live I knew with physical scars,
But not with this fear that gripped my heart.
Then I fixed my gaze upon Mount Calvary,
And embraced my Christ Who cares for me.
Knowing though bad’s often part of His plan,
He has nothing but good in store for me.
My dancing partner immediately changed,
And the song of defeat abruptly stopped;
I regained my faith and spiritual composure
And now I stand tall on the mountain top.
I’m no longer worried or despondent
Over hair loss, tiredness, or pain;
For I’ve given those things to my Savior,
And my release has been my gain.
My fear is gone and faith enthroned,
And I’m aware of God’s loving presence.
This storm is real but I trust Him still,
For He is my strength and my confidence.
My faith is strong and getting stronger,
And in spite of cancer my spirit flies;
I’m soaring high on wings of victory,
By the wind God’s grace does supply.
For this storm must blow till it blows out
On this vessel that bends and sways,
But God’s the Master of life’s storms
And the word He speaks they must obey.
He spoke the word and the winds ceased.
He brought me through the storm and the rain.
And now I tell of His power and love,
And sing of what once brought me pain.
James H. Cagle