2 Corinthians 4:1 – “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” NKJV
Not only is this ministry entrusted to each of us GLORIOUS and something that should inspire us in the face of any and all trials, there is more. Consider with me some additional aspects to this ministry or assignment we have been given by the LORD.
- OUR MINISTRY IS, TO GOD, A VALUABLE TREASURE – – (4:7-12).
Paul was a master teacher and his instructions were always detailed and incredibly complete. He takes an orderly path that is easy to follow moving from the Glory of the New Creation (Salvation) to the Humility of the Clay Vessel (man). He teaches without hesitation that a believer is simply a “Jar of Clay.” It is not the pot but the treasure in the pot that makes it valuable.
God made each of us unique and in our uniqueness, He has enabled us to accomplish that which He has called us to do. What I am assigned will not work for you because you were not made for my calling nor I yours. We see that amplified in Acts 9:15, “He (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles.” I am totally convinced that no believer should ever complain to God because of any seeming lack in their gift(s) or abilities, limitations or handicaps. God made you for His purposes! If you will examine Psalm 139:13-16 you will discover that our genetic structure is in the hands of God and each of us must accept himself to be himself.
The most important thing about a vessel is that it must be CLEAN, EMPTY, and AVAILABLE for service. Each of us should have as our spiritual objective to be “a vessel of honor, sanctified [set apart], and meet for the master’s use, and prepared for every good work.” [2 Timothy 2:21]. We are vessels and as earthen vessels, we must depend on God’s Power and not our own. The vessel by itself is nothing but filled with the Power of God is incredibly valuable and useful. Paul never feared trials, because he was totally confident that God would guard His treasure. God is not glorified in our super-human efforts but in our trusting Him in the midst of weakness.
- OUR MINISTRY BURSTS FORTH FROM A CONFIDENCE IN FAITH – (4:13-18).
I find the phrase “spirit of faith” interesting and realize that it means “attitude or outlook of faith.” It is a view from faith. Paul was not referring to the gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9 but of the attitude the believer should possess and manifest daily. He clearly identified with the Psalmist in 116:10, “I believed, and therefore I have spoken.” I believe that any true witness for God is based on Faith in God and this faith comes from God’s Word (Romans 10:17).
The apostle Paul was confident, but about what? He had no fear of what life or death might bring to him. He had trials and affirmed that his confidence in God (Faith) had brought him through in victory each time. He had some incredible assurances.
In (v.14) we discover that he has completely sure of his ultimate victory in Jesus. After all, if Jesus had conquered death, why should Paul fear anything? It has been said that until a person is prepared for death he is not prepared for life. Paul was also sure that in his service God would be glorified (v.15). This verse parallels Romans 8:28 beautifully. Paul was also certain that his trials were working for him, not against him. (vv.16-17). As Christians, in a very real sense, we live one day at a time. We move from glory to glory and victory to victory in Jesus. Someone said to me once, “I’m storing up grace for emergencies.” I do not believe that possible but believe that there is sufficient grace when grace is needed. (Hebrews 4:16). There is an old adage that says: “Yard by yard, life is hard but inch by inch, life is a cinch.” Notice in (v.17) Paul says his trials are “light afflictions” and momentary but it is working for him producing ETERNAL BENEFIT.”
Paul was 100% convinced the invisible world of God was real. A.W. Tozer said that the invisible world described in the Bible is the ONLY REALY WORLD that exists. The heroes of faith achieved what they achieved because they SAW THE INVISIBLE. They saw the world that can only be seen by faith or through faith.
- OUR MINISTRY IS POWERFUL BECAUSE WE HAVE A FUTURE AND A HOPE – (5:1-8).
Yes, we are looking for a city and longing for heaven but while we are here we have work to do and we can tackle the assignments given us with confidence that God will never forsake us and we have a future and a hope. We KNOW God and His Word. We GROAN for completion through the Spirit of God. We are CONFIDENT that what He has begun in us He will complete.
God bless you as you embark on today’s journey!