Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:7-9)
Paul wants to make it abundantly clear that God gave him a special position in the church with special revelation only because it was God’s sovereign purpose to do so. In other words, Paul was nothing special apart from the grace of God.
It wasn’t Paul’s education, natural abilities, experiences, personality, influence, or anything else that qualified him to be a minister of Christ. He did not deserve personal commendation. He did not want accolades. Why? God chose him. God called him. God made him a minister. God worked through him. God used him despite him.
It would concern me if a man considered entering the ministry because he felt himself to be a gifted speaker. In most cases, men have to be dragged into the ministry. Truly qualified men don’t usually feel qualified. Think of Moses who spent two chapters in Exodus arguing with God over whether he was the right man for the job. In a manner of speaking, I had a very similar argument with the burning bush years ago.
Of course, even a God-ordained minister can lose his sense of dependence upon God’s grace. He may come to rely on his own abilities and talents. He may become motivated by prestige, reputation, success, or personal ambition. It’s a dangerous place to find ourselves.
Perhaps that is why God so often afflicts his ministers. He gives them physical, mental, or spiritual burdens to humble them, to remind them of their need for God’s strength and grace. Paul called it, “a thorn in the flesh to keep me from becoming conceited” (2Co 12:7). Ministers simply can’t be effective in the service of Christ without humility.
Suzanne Jackson on May 31st, 2020:
Sometimes the order of tweets in my feed is serendipitous.
Jeremy Sarber on May 31st, 2020:
Ha. I think I’ll change the title of my post to “Pastors, forget your pants”.