By Stan Brown
Ephesians 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
In the midst of his statement concerning the mission God has given him as minister to the Gentiles, Paul interrupts himself with a quick, terse statement that expresses deep emotion about God’s choice of him for that role (To me, the very least of all saints). This is not a case of false humility but rather an instance of deep realization concerning God’s choice of him for this role. The first two words (for me) serve as emphasis as Paul expresses the awareness that God had done a remarkable thing for him. The remaining portion of the statement might better be translated as who is less than the least of all the saints. Paul considered himself to be the greatest of all sinners (It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. (1Tim. 1:15)). Paul had blasphemed and persecuted Christ (even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. (1Tim. 1:13)). Paul had persecuted and tried to destroy the church (how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;(Gal. 1:13)). Paul sincerely expresses his feelings concerning his lack of worthiness for the role God gave him. He was not just the least of the apostles, he was less than the least of every believer who existed. Yet, God prepared him and called him for unique ministry.
Paul was extremely zealous in everything he did. When he persecuted, he did it with ferocity. When he preached the gospel, he did it with aggressive purpose. Most of us would hesitate to compare ourselves with Paul, yet we may experience the same realization that he did, the realization of our own unworthiness. As believers, God has gifted us for service that is perhaps beyond what we might expect. He has given us unique gifts designed especially for us. We are not Paul, but God’s call of each of us is special. We are no more deserving of it than was Paul, yet God through His magnificent grace has placed us in the body of Christ designed for service. We fit perfectly into the place in the body that he designed us to fill. Each of us is called specifically into serving God in perfect harmony with the gifts he has given us and with the other gifted saints. We may not be Paul but we are uniquely equipped by God for service.
I was going to look at the second half of this verse as well this morning but there is more there than I am ready to expose in the brief space available. Besides, I think it is well to meditate upon the stunning, undeserved grace that God has bestowed on each of us uniquely and specifically as we serve Him. God did not only call us for service, he gave each of us all that we need to serve Him. Wow! We are prepared for serving the Creator of the universe through the endowment of His unspeakable grace. Is it deserved? Of course not. That is why it is a gift.