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I noticed that the question of what became of Paul was merged into this one, and I thought I would answer that question as it really is a different question than what is here. And the answer is that church tradition holds that Paul was most likely beheaded by the Romans in the mid to late 60s under the rule of Nero.
The lessons to learn from the life of Paul can be approached from his leadership style as a man with a large heart. The leadership trait of Apostle Paul was not noticed until he encountered Christ on his way to Damascus. All that was known about him is that he was persecuting those who belonged to the Way (Christians). After he encountered the Lord Jesus, many gifts of the Spirit were deposited in him, one of which is the gift of leadership. Don’t be surprised that leadership is also a gift of the Spirit. This is stated in the book of Romans 12:8. Paul was not just a leader; he was a leader with zeal for selfless service. The trials he faced could cause one’s zeal to reduce, but that was not his case; those trials were actually fanning the zeal in him and made him stronger as a leader. According to extra-biblical studies (The Acts of Paul and Thecla), Paul was described as a short, bald, bowlegged man; of vigorous physique, with meeting eyebrows and a slightly hooked nose. These were never a limitation to Paul’s exemplary style of leadership. Of a truth, leadership is not by size, age, or physique, it is by grace. Paul would always encourage his followers to be faithful, having discovered their gift; one of them is Timothy. He reminded Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God which was in him (1Timothy 4:12-16; 2Timothy 1:6). Good leaders like Paul serve as mentors and promote the passion of their mentees. They raise leaders who will become leaders like them. They are not self-centered as they develop those who are under them. Also, Paul was always anxious to promote reconciliation amongst brethren. He wrote several letters to the Corinthian Church so as to settle disputes among them. He was indeed a Justice of Peace by his deeds. He reconciled the run-away slave, Onesimus, to his master, Philemon (Philemon 1). Having a large heart also means having the ability to easily forgive. There was a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over the person who would accompany them to visit other brethren. Barnabas chose Mark, but Paul was not satisfied with that choice because Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia, and so, he chose Silas (Acts 15:36-40). Later, Paul sent for Mark to partner with him in his ministry (2Timothy 4:11). Great leaders with a large heart forgive those who have offended them and move on with life. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness but strength. Unforgiveness ruins the health of a leader. Paul showed perseverance as a Christian leader in the face of challenges. Many have withdrawn from leadership position because they cannot persevere. It takes a large heart to persevere; it makes you to see challenges as though they never existed. Those challenges can never be read on their faces as long as God is giving them the grace to overcome them. Let us consider this Apostle’s experience in 2Corinthians 11:24-28: “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – Besides the other things, what comes upon me daily; my deep concern for all the Churches.” Despite the perils of leadership, Paul was still having deep concern for all the Churches. He didn’t allow his challenges to becloud his sense of responsibility. That’s a large heart! According to him, he experienced danger from his own people (countrymen), but he kept on persevering. Paul is regarded as the greatest missionary of all time.
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