Who are you, Lord?
What shall I do, Lord?
Acts 22: 8,10
The ninth chapter of Acts tells us the story. As Saul neared Damascus a light from heaven flashed around him. In answer to the Lord’s question “Why do you persecute me?”, Saul then asked the questions as quoted above. The pursuit of the answers to these questions drove him into Arabia for three years and were a major focus of his years in Tarsus after leaving Jerusalem. (Acts 9:30) The following words given to him in Colossians 1:15-20 are but a portion of what was revealed to him concerning the nature of Christ. “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
The passion to know Christ grew more deeply with the passage of time. He related the following some years later in Philippians 3:10-11. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” He thirsted for and continued to seek more intimate knowledge of Christ. His belief in the person of Christ compelled him to lay his whole life at His feet, surrendering his intellect, his emotion and his will to his Lord. This response of faith in the person of the Lord is symbolized by his second question, ”What shall I do, Lord?”
Paul’s life chronicles for us his response to the Lord’s answer to the second question. “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” (I Corinthians 9:19) “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” (Romans1:1) “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.” (Romans 1:14) “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the gentile.” (Romans 1:16) “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1:28-29) “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) It is abundantly clear that these two questions and his response to them issued in a life long commitment to “know Christ and to make him known.”
I have heard it said that one of the keys to life is in asking the right questions. In light of the Apostle Paul’s questions it is legitimate to consider the questions that we ask ourselves. Do we, in the church, consider these questions daily? Are they the pursuit of our lives? Is it our daily desire to know Christ more deeply throughout our lives? In light of the world around us living in darkness and sin do we ask “What shall I do, Lord? Do we have a burden of prayer for the lost? Do we seek to spend time with them and serve them? Are we willing at cost to ourselves to share the gospel and our lives with them?
Or are we, like the world, asking the same questions the world is asking? “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?” (Matthew 6:31) Do our questions focus on where shall I attend school? What employment shall I seek? Where shall I live? What investment shall I make for the future? If these are the only questions we ask, then we are no different from the pagan world around us. Our salt has lost its saltiness. (Matthew 5:13) We are like a kernel of wheat which remains only a single seed. (John 12:24) We are content, as G. Campbell Morgan describes, to eat our morsel alone.
“‘If I have eaten my morsel alone!’
The patriarch spoke in scorn;
What would he think of the Church, were He shown
Heathendom, huge, forlorn,
Godless, Christless, with soul unfed,
While the Church’s ailment is fulness of bread,
Eating her morsel alone?
‘I am debtor alike to the Jew and the Greek,’
The mighty apostle cried;
Traversing continents, souls to seek,
For the love of the Crucified.
Centuries, centuries since have sped;
Millions are famishing, we have bread,
But we eat our morsel alone.
Ever of them who have largest dower
Shall heaven require the more.
Ours is affluence, knowledge, power,
Ocean from shore to shore;
And East and West in our ears have said,
Give us, give us your living Bread.
Yet we eat our morsel alone.
Freely, as ye have received, so give,
He bade, Who hath given us all.
How shall the soul in us longer live,
Dead to their starving call,
For whom the blood of the Lord was shed,
And His body broken to give them Bread,
If we eat our morsel alone?
We cannot have this Christ-life within us without having clear vision, and without having driving compassion, and without having the dynamic which makes us mighty. We cannot have Christ within us and be parochial. Christ overleaps the boundaries of parish, society, and nation, and His clear vision takes in the whole world. If Christ be verily in us we shall see with His eyes, feel with his heart, be driven with His very compassion. He will send us where He would have us go, and He will make us what He would have us be, and through us-oh matchless wonder of overwhelming grace-the light of His life may shine, and the force of His life may be felt.” G. Campbell Morgan The Westminster Pulpit Volume 2, pages 175-6. Flaming H. Revell 1954-55
In Christ, Richard Spann