In today’s passage, Paul’s description of his suffering is remarkable in two ways. First of all, he had obviously faced considerable torment for his faith. Second, he refused to whine or seek pity—if this was the price for passionately serving Christ, Paul was willing to pay. In our own faith walk, we can learn from the apostle’s commitment.
We serve according to God’s will, not our own. On the road to Damascus, Jesus said to Paul, “It will be told you what you must do” (Acts 9:6). We are to seek the Lord’s direction and timing instead of choosing the ministry that seems best to us. Committing to do whatever He asks requires courage, but anything less amounts to putting limitations on our obedience.
We serve according to our gifts, not our talents. A spiritual gift is the special endowment God gives us to serve where He calls. Talents may be useful in His work, but His gifts equip us for success. Natural skill wasn’t what made Paul a powerful preacher. In fact, he spoke of the uselessness of his abilities and pedigree in comparison with knowing and serving Christ (Phil. 3:4-9).
We are to serve with a focus on God, not on the work. Paul excelled at remaining Christ-centered, but this is where many people fall short. We get caught up in scheduling, responsibility, and accolades, which can make us lose sight of the true purpose: reaching the needy and those who need Christ.
Doing “church work” can stroke the ego but drain the body. If we keep focused and serve out of our gifts, service will be satisfying, even when it is hard or painful.
Bible in One Year: Leviticus 18-20