God gave the Apostle Paul an amazing ministry! It was a special specific calling that literally transformed a world. Historically few men have been as effective in furthering the life of Jesus Christ as this apostle born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:8 KJV). His writings dominate the New Testament. Narratives of how God used this man overshadow the second half of the Book of Acts. Of all men and women who’ve ever been ministers of the Gospel, no doubt Paul’s ministry runs at the forefront as both succeeding and fruitful.
However, as I perused 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 1 from the English Standard Bible, something new dawned upon me at the words, “…having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” The missive seems to imply that even the Apostle Paul found the possibility of losing heart over pressures of the ministry—whether internal or external.
Though we look at the body of Paul’s work as a huge success, apparently, personally he didn’t always view it that way. It’s interesting to me that the thought of “losing heart” even comes up—I mean, this is THE APOSTLE PAUL we’re talking about here! Yet, in this verse he’s pointing out his need for mercy in the midst of this great commission. In fact, the Message Bible has an interesting way of saying these thoughts:
“Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times.”
Do the words “I quit” mean anything to you? Apparently they did to the Apostle Paul. But, walking off the job was not an option of consideration as the mercy of God was ever prevalent for the ministry given to him. God’s grace was available to help Paul through all the hard times! In fact, by God’s enabling power he found the courage to move forward—we read that Kenneth Wuest translates this verse as:
“Because of this, having this ministry [of the new testament] even as we were made the objects of mercy [in its bestowal], we do not lose courage,”
So, when difficulties arise, whether internal or external, the opportunity for finding the grace of God elevates above the level of giving up and quitting. If we’ve reached the point of frustration—throwing up our hands and walking off the job—remember the mercy of God is greater. Before saying, “I quit” to the ministry generously given, discover God’s grace can give help in time of need!
J. Robert Hanson