Whereof I am made a minister - Having received especial commission from God to preach salvation to the Gentiles.
According to the dispensation - Κατα την οικονομιαν· According to the Gospel economy or institution; the scheme or plan of salvation by Christ crucified.
To fulfill the word of God - The Greek πληρωσαι τον λογον του Θεου may be translated, fully to preach the doctrine of God. See Romans 15:19, and the note there. Were we to take the word in its common meaning, it might signify to accomplish the purpose of God, as predicted by the prophets.
According to the dispensation of God - The arrangement which God has made. That is, he designed that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, and, in accordance with that arrangement, he has called me to be a minister. Notes, Ephesians 3:2.
To fulfil the word of God - Margin, “fully to preach.” The Greek is, “to fill up the word of God;” the meaning is, “fully to teach and promulgate the gospel;” compare the notes at Romans 15:19.
No less sacred appreciation of and devotion to the work of the ministry does God require of His servants who are living so near the end of all things. He cannot accept the work of laborers unless they realize in their own hearts the life and power of the truth which they present to others. He will not accept of anything short of earnest, active, zealous heart labor. Vigilance and fruitfulness are required for this great work. God wants unselfish workmen, those who will labor with disinterested benevolence and give their undivided interest to the work. 2T 502.1
Brethren, you lack devotion and consecration to the work. Your hearts are selfish. The deficiencies in you must be supplied, or you will erelong meet with a fatal disappointment—you will lose heaven. God does not lightly regard a neglect of the faithful performance of the work which He has left His servants to do. Enduring energy and a constant reliance upon God are lacking in many who are laboring in the ministry. The result of this lack brings great burdens upon the few who possess these qualities, and they are necessitated to make up the deficiencies so apparent in those who might be able workmen if they would become so. There are a few who are working day and night, depriving themselves of rest and social enjoyments, taxing the brain to the utmost, each performing the labor of three men, wearing away their valuable lives to do the work that others might do, but neglect. Some are too lazy to perform their part; many ministers are carefully preserving themselves by shunning burdens, remaining in a state of inefficiency, and accomplishing next to nothing. Therefore those who realize the worth of souls, who appreciate the sacredness of the work and feel that it must go forward, are doing extra labor, making superhuman efforts, and using up their brain power to keep the work moving. Were the interest in the work and the devotion to it equally divided, were all who profess to be ministers diligently devoting their interest wholly to the cause, not saving themselves, the few earnest, God-fearing workmen who are fast wearing away their lives would be relieved of this high pressure upon them, and their strength might be preserved so that, when actually required, it would tell with double power, and produce far greater results than can now be seen while under the pressure of overwhelming care and anxiety. The Lord is not pleased with this inequality. 2T 502.2
Many who profess to be called of God to minister in word and doctrine do not feel that they have no right to claim to be teachers unless they are thoroughly furnished by earnest, diligent study of the word of God. Some have neglected to obtain a knowledge of the simple branches of education. Some cannot even read correctly; some misquote the Scriptures; and some, by their apparent lack of qualification for the work they are trying to do, injure the cause of God and bring the truth into disrepute. These do not see the necessity of cultivating the intellect, of especially encouraging refinement without affectation, and of seeking to attain to the true elevation of Christian character. The certain and effectual means of attaining this is the surrender of the soul to God. He will direct the intellect and affections so that they will center upon the divine and eternal, and then will they possess energy without rashness, for all the powers of the mind and of the whole being will be elevated, refined, and directed in the loftiest, holiest channel. From the lips of the heavenly Teacher were heard the words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” When this submission to God is made, true humility will grace every action, while at the same time those who are thus allied to God and His heavenly angels will possess a becoming dignity savoring of heaven. 2T 503.1Read in context »
Paul carried with him the atmosphere of heaven. All who associated with him felt the influence of his union with Christ. The fact that his own life exemplified the truth he proclaimed, gave convincing power to his preaching. Here lies the power of the truth. The unstudied, unconscious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition; but a godly example has a power that it is impossible wholly to resist. GW 59.1
The apostle's heart burned with love for sinners, and he put all his energies into the work of soul-winning. There never lived a more self-denying, persevering worker. The blessings he received he prized as so many advantages to be used in blessing others. He lost no opportunity of speaking of the Saviour or of helping those in trouble. Wherever he could find a hearing, he sought to counteract wrong and to turn the feet of men and women into the path of righteousness. GW 59.2
Paul never forgot the responsibility resting on him as a minister of Christ; or that if souls were lost through unfaithfulness on his part, God would hold him accountable. “I take you to record this day,” he declared, “that I am pure from the blood of all men.” [Acts 20:26.] “Whereof I am made a minister,” he said of the gospel, “according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.” [Colossians 1:25-29] GW 59.3Read in context »
Experienced workers today do a noble work when, instead of trying to carry all the burdens themselves, they train younger workers and place burdens on their shoulders. AA 368.1
Paul never forgot the responsibility resting on him as a minister of Christ, or that if souls were lost through unfaithfulness on his part, God would hold him accountable. “Whereof I am made a minister,” he declared of the gospel, “according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.” Colossians 1:25-29. AA 368.2
These words present before the worker for Christ a high attainment, yet this attainment all can reach who, putting themselves under the control of the Great Teacher, learn daily in the school of Christ. The power at God's command is limitless, and the minister who in his great need shuts himself in with the Lord may be assured that he will receive that which will be to his hearers a savor of life unto life. AA 368.3Read in context »
Our workers should use the greatest wisdom, so that nothing shall be said to provoke the armies of Satan and to stir up his united confederacy of evil. Christ did not dare to bring a railing accusation against the prince of evil, and is it proper that we should bring such accusation as will set in operation the agencies of evil, the confederacies of men that are leagued with evil spirits? Christ was the only-begotten Son of the infinite God, He was the Commander in the heavenly courts, yet He refrained from bringing accusation against Satan. Speaking of Him, Isaiah says, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” TM 222.1
Let those who speak and write concerning the third angel's message consider the fact that the Prince of Peace did not bring a railing accusation against the enemy, and let them learn the lesson they ought to have learned much earlier in their experience. They should wear Christ's yoke, they should practice the humility of Christ. The Great Teacher says, “Learn of Me [I am not boastful, I hide My glory]; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” In learning of Me, “ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Let such work be done by our missionaries as will lead to that repentance that needs not to be repented of. We need to learn much more of the meekness of Christ in order to be a savor of life unto life. TM 222.2Read in context »