As he traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
He had set his path on one thing, and he always accomplished what he set his mind to. His first position with the company was no better or more prestigious than any of the other graduates, but he quickly rose through the ranks ahead of them. Seeing his ambition and promise, and not having a place of growth available for him, his boss even created a new position for him along the way. Things were certainly looking up, and he wanted more, but everything else in life took a back seat to that job. Then one day the accolades and the promotions just stopped. No matter how hard he tried, he could make no headway in that company or any other. That was the first time he dared ask God what He wanted him to do.
Ambition is a good thing to have, but misplaced ambition with wrong intentions can be very detrimental to our spiritual health. It is good to be driven toward goals, but not every goal is beneficial or suitable for us. Sometimes we are so headstrong and tunnel visioned that God must literally stop us in our tracks to get our attention. We may even think that we are seeking him or serving him when in fact we are not. That was what Paul experienced. His zeal was misplaced, and God stopped him in his tracks to bring him to his true calling. This was no mere prodding or signaling, but God did what was necessary to force Paul to change directions and reconsider his path. It was God’s plan to use Paul in a mighty way, and that plan would come to fruition.
God is a gentleman, but He will stop us in our tracks if necessary. Although Paul’s zeal was misplaced, the Lord saw how useful it could be if harnessed correctly. The same applies to us. We may be using our gifts and talents in a way that does not benefit the kingdom, and God may put an end to that so that we wake up and use what we have for him. The zeal Paul had was not of himself but a gift from God. The gifts and talents we have, the zeal and faith we have, those also are from the Lord. If we are not using them to advance the kingdom, let us pray that God wakes us up and calls us to his path the way He woke up Paul. Father, do what is necessary to get our attention so that we use our gifts and talents for the advancement of your kingdom, for the fulfillment of your calling.