Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
(Ephesians 3:7-10 ESV)
In this section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he is on a bit of a tangent. He started to pray for the Ephesians in verse 1 of this chapter but quickly got sidetracked to reiterate some spiritual truth as well as the fact that he was given responsibility from God to teach this truth to others.
Today Paul calls himself a minister. The definition of this word in our modern dictionary is “a person authorized to conduct religious worship”. The implication is that such a person has an exalted position among the body of believers. But in the original Greek this word does not have the connotation that we give it today.
The original Greek word is διακονοσ (pronounced: dee-ak’-on-os) and is the word used in ancient Greek literature to refer to a table waiter who works to meet the needs of his customers. This is the same word used in John 2:9 to refer to the waiters at the wedding in Cana where Jesus turned water into wine.
A minister is one who serves others. In fact, the NET Bible translates this word as “servant”. Paul was not a priest or any other high-ranking religious official like a bishop. Such positions are never mentioned in the Bible and are therefore unbiblical. Paul was a servant. He served others and by doing so he served God.
The life that God calls us to is a life of serving. Jesus said the way to be exalted is to become the servant of others [Matthew 20:26; Mark 10:43-44; Luke 22:26 et. al]. All of God’s children are called upon to serve because that is exactly how Jesus lived [Mark 10:45].
Notice that Paul was made a minister of the gospel. He did not choose it. It was chosen for him, by God. Paul was a minister not because he had a degree, or a persuasive personality, or was a powerful speaker. He was a minister simply because that is what God called him to be.
In the same way those of us who are God’s children are also servants. Some people think they can’t serve because they don’t look right, or speak right, or act right. Such thinking is a lie of Satan. If God has called you to serve Him – and, if you are a born-again child of His [John 1:12] then He has – then you are ready right now to do so.
God called Moses to confront Pharaoh, the most powerful man on earth. Yet Moses did not think that he had the necessary skills [Exodus 3:11]. But God promised to be with Moses [Exodus 3:12]. And when we have God with us we can do anything He asks us to do.
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