For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Paul continues to stretch my faith through this message. Think about all that we read in the book of Acts, how Paul gave up everything to bring this message to the gentiles. He was beaten, left for dead, ridiculed, persecuted and handed over to Rome by his own people. He has spent several years in prisons from Jerusalem to Rome including being shipwrecked along the way. The reason this text really encourages me is that through all of this Paul writes that this task is a gift from God. He then describes himself as the least of all the Lord’s people and even he received grace. What could possibly drive somebody to such extremes and still consider themselves to be fortunate? It is the full understanding of this mystery that has been revealed in this age, for Paul the revelation of this mystery is completely worth it. What is the mystery? God’s manifold wisdom has been made known to the heavenly realms, this mystery is the church. The Church – a people who through no act of their own can approach God with freedom and confidence in Christ. I think that bit of good news overrides any hardship we may face in the week. That is why Paul says, don’t be discouraged by his suffering…because he is not discouraged.