“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” Ephesians 3.7-13
It’s hard to imagine that Paul would seem himself as the “least of all the Lord’s people.” Either its self deprecating or he truly believes it. I don’t think it’s false humility, I believe that Paul has been convicted to a point that in light of God’s grace, he seems himself chosen but also lowly.
Paul tells us he “became a servant” because of God’s grace “given” to him through God’s power. He did not necessarily choose God as much as God chose him. I mean, God found him on the Damascus Road, then Paul responded in obedience and submitted his life to God. God is always reaching out to us — but will we respond?
And the grace given was for but one purpose — “to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.” Why wouldn’t everyone want to receive these riches? What can the world offer that Christ can beat? The world offers pleasures for the here and now but Christ offers fullness, purpose and significance today and in the world to come.
The revelation of this gift given to Paul was also to “be made known to the rulers and authority’s in the heavenly realms.” Not only was the gospel made known to humanity but also to angelic beings. One commentator suggests that even angelic beings (both good and bad) do not yet known everything about Christ. That even angels can learn about the mysteries of God (https://www.bibleref.com/Ephesians/3/Ephesians-3-10.html).
Because of God’s self revelation, “we may approach God with freedom and confidence,” v.12b. And thus Paul says for the church “not to be discouraged because of my suffers for you, which are your glory.”
Paul may suggest that he is the “least” among God’s people, but in truth, God chose him to bring revelation about himself not only to humanity but to those in the heavenly realms (and no, I do not fully understand that truth!). Just as God used Paul, he can also use us to bring the light of Christ to the world.
What I will be doing this week, on the surface, is putting on a very fun and energetic youth camp (revivetexas.org ). But what’s really happening is a gathering of God’s people in which He will reveal himself fully to all who will listen and abide. At a glimpse, it might look like a lot of fun activities, inspiring worship and speakers, but in truth — its a swirl of spiritual activity descending upon the camp for the week as a battle rages for the hearts and minds of humanity. These students, and adults, will be subject to this war and will have to choose Christ or their own desires and ways.
I pray now, in Jesus name, that God has the victory. That just as Paul’s suffering was for the glory of his audience, so our suffering for Christ in putting on a camp with sacrifice, energy and effort would bring forth a fruitfulness that far outweighs them all.
“Come Lord Jesus! Have your way with us. We are but clay in the hands of the Potter. Shape us Lord! Mold us! Use us for your glory that we might be the imitation of Christ. Come now upon our camp that it might be full of your Spirit and truth. We bind the enemy and ask you to put a shield of protection around our students. Help them come to know you in fullness and in truth. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen