Paul was ready to pass the mantle on to young men like Timothy and Titus, to take care of the churches in the Gentile world. The apostle looked back on his life and saw what he had accomplished. He had done a great work for God. He had gone from persecuting the church to being its greatest champion in preaching the gospel throughout the Gentile world.
He realized that he had done the best that he could. And look what he did! He penned fourteen books of the Bible, founded who knows how many churches, and caused the conversion of many people. He looked back and said, "I've lived a full life. I've finished the task that God set for me. I have no regrets for the life I've lived since conversion."
He surely regretted what he had done before conversion, but that was past. Those acts had been forgiven, and he had proceeded on to the great things that God had in mind for him. He would not rage against God or accuse Him of treating him unfairly, although he had been beaten and flogged many times for the gospel's sake. He had been stoned and left for dead, nearly drowned in the sea, and suffered hunger and thirst—the many "perils of Paul." But they meant nothing to him at this point. He had no regrets. His life had been lived to the fullest for God. He did not complain that he deserved better, that he should go to his rest in peace. He asked for nothing. He was content.
The antidote to presumptuousness can be whittled down to the attitude of contentment, which Paul displayed. If one is content, he is not presumptuous. A contented person is satisfied with his position, with what life has dealt him, his lot in life. He is happy where God has put him and does not ask for more, but he is willing to fulfill his task to the best of his abilities.
He is not always striving to get ahead, to be the leader, or to have so many things. To the contented man, that is not how life should be lived. He is not out to receive notoriety or fame. He does not seek the respect of everyone. He does not necessarily desire to be recognized for all his accomplishments or even need to be accepted all the time. A person who is truly content is never presumptuous.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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