Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known.
Paul rejoiced in his sufferings because he saw it as an extension of the suffering of Christ; a reflection of the suffering servant and the gospel we proclaim (see also 2 Corinthians 1:5-6; 4:10-12). He recognized that his suffering was for the sake of the church and was willing to continue to endure.
Notice, Paul saw his ministry as a stewardship. God has called him to it and he would one day give an account to God for whether or not he was faithful to it. If you are a believer, God has given you a ministry. While all of our ministry is different as we all have different gifts and callings, we will all be held accountable.
Paul’s ministry was to make the word of God known. He didn’t see himself as an entertainer or people-pleaser, but a committed servant doing the will of God by making the powerful word of God known. Our methods show where we trust the power is; for Paul, the power to change lives wasn’t in gimmicks but rather in proclaiming the word of God that never returns void (Isaiah 55:10-11). Only then, would he see increasing fruit (1:6).
- Paul rejoiced in his sufferings if it meant people heard the gospel. Are you willing to suffer in order the that gospel might be proclaimed?
- How are you making the word known?
- Are you being a faithful steward of the ministry to which God has called you?