Exodus 23-24 / Matthew 20:1-16
“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.” Ephesians 3:7
Of Paul’s thirteen letters in the New Testament, he introduces himself as an apostle of Christ in seven of them and as a servant in three. The distinction here is interesting. Paul did not become an apostle because he wanted a career in Christian ministry or because of his intense Pharisaical training. Neither was he looking for wealth, status or even adventure. Paul became an apostle of Christ because he understood he was first and foremost a servant of Christ.
Servants carry out their master’s business using their master’s resources. Every Christian is meant to be a servant of the Gospel, but we lack the capability and resources to accomplish what God calls us to. The only resource we have in a work of God is His empowering. This is why Paul writes, “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” (Ephesians 3:8). Paul was not suffering from low self-esteem or speaking out of false humility. He was fully aware of Christ’s grace being the only way possible of counter-acting his spiritual poverty. He chose instead to boast of his weaknesses so that God would be glorified by His power working in the specific areas of His weaknesses.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes something similar. He talks about a thorn in his flesh; a messenger from Satan sent to torment him. Three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away, but Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s response: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can be too self-assured, too confident and too strong for God because it closes the door to dependency on Him, but we can never be too weak or too frail for God to work in our lives. Like Paul, we may consider ourselves to be less than the least, but everything we are not… Jesus Christ is.
The true nature of the Christian life is an exchanged life – our weaknesses for Christ’s strength; our folly for His wisdom and our poverty for His riches. This should leave us with confidence not only in our daily living, but in every task Christ calls us to, because He is Himself all the resource we need. Rather than disqualifying us in being of service to God, our failures and weaknesses open up a highway for God to navigate His way through our lives with endless possibilities as servants of His Gospel.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Your grace is sufficient for me. I depend on You today to be my strength and any other resource I may need as we accomplish Your work together. Thank You, Lord.