I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace
given me through the working of His power.
Ephesians 3: 7
Years ago I had started memorizing the whole book of Ephesians. Somewhere in the events of the past couple of years the majority of the words have escaped from the recesses of my memory, along with most other minor and major details of life. Often a night still finds me crawling out of a panic attack reciting the first few verses, though. I don't get much past the grace, peace and praise before the words have started their calming effect and I am able to breathe again. Breathe, just breathe.
Delving back into the book during my Bible reading schedule has been interesting. Somewhere I recall these passages floating around in the neurons of my brain, but again, at the same time, they are fresh and new. The theology baffles me- predestined, chosen, God's purpose and will, the times reaching their fulfillment, glory, seated on a throne with Christ- but the Holy Spirit allows some light to shine through once in a while.
Ephesians 3:7 stopped me today. Paul calls himself a servant of the gospel, right after referring to himself as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. Images immediately spring to mind with serving being so common in our home. Serving ten children tacos, then doing it again with round two of seconds for some hard working kiddos. Chasing goats out of the flower garden, road and chicken coop numerous times in one afternoon. Waking early to nurture young students, preparing bodies and souls for the day ahead. Loving a husband, talking to friends on the phone, encouraging sisters, delving deep with daughters, praying for opportunities with strangers. Somehow sprinkling the gospel in every action and striving to point everything to Christ - forgiveness of sins to the glory of God through Jesus' death.
Paul talks about his position with pride. Not a sinful "make it about me" pride, but a pride because God chose him to be a broken vessel whom He would pour out His glory and power. God has been splitting that hair in my life lately, the "who is it about" hair. I can mouth that it is all about Him, but brokenness is when truth comes out. The battle starts when our flesh is crushed, trying to determine where it hurts the most and what the crying is about, revealing what we so easily cover up.
God makes it all about Him in a believers life. Above everything else that He does to sanctify us, He makes sure that His glory reigns above all. He quiets us in the midst of the storm, not always taking it away, but granting us one more opportunity to see His power, confess our trust in Him, let go and let God lead. Another opportunity to quit fighting Him, quit fighting where our position is, quit forcing it to be about us.
A servant of the gospel. To be granted the privilege of sharing Christ. Not in our own power, but all by the grace of God, to the glory of God's eternal purpose.
That word again: eternity. It's on my lips when I wake up and when I go to bed. Eternity. My brain can barely grasp its meaning. But I know its reality. To deny it would be to deny my very own son. So I beg constantly to be used in such a privileged way as Paul was, to become a servant, even a prisoner. To ask that the God of the universe, this eternal God, would choose to grant such a high honor to display His glory through this broken vessel of clay.