Paul was an apostle. He asserts his authority and credibility. He assumes that his readers already know that God gave him the all-important task of ministering to the Gentiles. He says, “The stewardship of God’s grace was given to me for you” (Eph 3:2).
By stewardship, he means that he is a responsible party. A steward is someone who is entrusted to manage a household, business, people, or things.
Paul didn’t choose to become an apostle. He told Timothy, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” (1Ti 1:12-13). That is why he says here that he is a steward of God’s grace.
He tells the Corinthians that his ministry was the result of God’s will and compulsion. He says:
For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. (1 Corinthians 9:16-17)
You may not be an apostle or even a preacher, but God has certainly called you into his service. He gives every believer spiritual gifts, talents, wisdom, and opportunities to be his witnesses and to do good works. Peter tells us:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Don’t waste your gifts, and don’t waste opportunities because you’re uncertain about your gifts.
I don’t know whether I have any gifts. Of course, you do. You’re a member of the body of Christ. I don’t know what gifts I have. You don’t need to know. We are all empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills (1Co 12:11). God will give you what you need when he knows you need it.
The fact is, you may not have one specific gift. Throughout your life, God could give you a limitless combination of gifts. The question is not, what gifts do you have? The question is, are you taking advantage of every opportunity to serve God, share the gospel, and help one another? As Charles Spurgeon said, “If there be degrees in glory, they will not be distributed according to our talents, but according to our faithfulness in using them.”
As for Paul, both his gifts and opportunities were somewhat unique. Of course, he lived in a unique time in history. It was a pivotal moment when God’s grace was extending beyond the borders of Israel. Paul, in particular, was on the front lines.