Acts 20:24 (x) none of these things move me,
Rom.8:35> Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
2Cor.4:16> For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
(y) that I might finish my course
1Cor.9:24-27> Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
(z) and the ministry
Acts 1:17> For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
(a) which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.
Gal.1:1> Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
The Apostle Paul had a special stewardship entrusted to Him by God’s grace. “If indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you” (Ephesians 3:2). This special calling given to him by God concerned the miracle of Jew and Gentile being made one in Christ (as the body of Christ): “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). This wondrous “mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4) was a distinctive emphasis of his ministry: “Of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.” Paul repeatedly stated that this ministry calling was given to him by grace. “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
On other occasions, Paul spoke of his ministry without referring to this special emphasis of Jews and Gentiles becoming one in Christ. Still, he described his ministry in the same terms of grace given to him. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation”
(1 Corinthians 3:10). Here, Paul views his service as a spiritual builder laying a spiritual foundation for the construction of godly lives. God’s grace equipped him and sustained him in such service.
We are all called to serve our Master. In our hearts there is a desire to be used of our King. How comforting to know that our ministry will develop by God’s grace given to us. Again, humble dependence is the path to such grace for ministry. “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given.”
Lord Jesus, I long to serve You in ministry. I rejoice that ministry depends upon Your grace, not my abilities. Lord, I humbly bow before You, seeking You for the necessary grace to serve You in any way that You desire, in Your gracious name, Amen.