7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me. 8 I am by far the least important of all the Lord’s holy people. But he gave me the grace to preach to the Gentiles about the unlimited riches that Christ gives. 9 God told me to make clear to everyone how the mystery came about. In times past it was kept hidden in the mind of God, who created all things. 10 He wanted the rulers and authorities in the heavenly world to come to know his great wisdom. The church would make it known to them. 11 That was God’s plan from the beginning. He has fulfilled his plan through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Through him and through faith in him we can approach God. We can come to him freely. We can come without fear. 13 So here is what I’m asking you to do. Don’t lose hope because I am suffering for you. It will lead to the time when God will give you his glory.
In this scripture, Paul understands his position, and he understands his purpose. He understands that he is a servant of God, not by anyway of earning the privilege, but purely by the grace of God. And it is obvious that his purpose is aligned with God’s purpose, being that all people will know about the mystery of God.
However, it is the last sentence of this passage that gives me some context to his writing. Paul is also in a position of suffering, imprisoned in Rome, awaiting trial before Caesar, and this is due to his missionary efforts to the Gentiles. And yet he is imparting encouragement. In his suffering, he is not thinking of himself, but his concern is to encourage those he is writing to. I admire his focus, his care, his selflessness, and his purpose. This challenges me as to my attitudes in times of hardship.
Lord, I ask that I may be an encouragement to those around me, regardless of what is occurring in my own life. I pray that my focus and purpose, is always aligned with your purpose, in whatever situation I am placed. Amen
Written by Steve Fell