As I’ve been teaching the second half of New Testament this semester I have been struck once again by Paul’s determination. Few people would endure the persecution he did and get right back up and go on preaching like he did. On his first missionary journey Paul was stoned to death by angry Jews in the city of Lystra and taken outside the city walls and left for dead. But while the disciples stand around mourning, Paul is revived and goes with Barnabas to the nearby city of Derbe and begins to preach again.
The amazing thing is that after preaching in Derbe he could have traveled east to Antioch of Syria and been safely home in a few days. But instead he insists on returning to Lystra and Iconium—the very places he has been persecuted in—and ministering once more to the new converts and the leaders in those cities.
In the Doctrine and Covenants section 123 there is a wonderful phrase that encourages and instructs. It says, “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power,” and Paul is a wonderful example of just that. He doesn’t let the persecution and adversity get him down. He Lives in Truth. He just keeps on doing anything he can to build the kingdom, to accomplish good.
Thank goodness few of us will ever encounter persecution to the same degree as Paul, so we have no excuse. The task before us is simple. We only need to cheerfully do good whenever we can and where ever we are.