Scripture Reading: Romans 11:13-14 (English Standard Version)
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry
14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.
Thought for the day:
It seems like a distant memory now, but it wasn’t so long ago that the UK was gripped by a heatwave. Some parts of Britain experienced temperatures that broke all known records. In my office in Cardiff, everyone was complaining that it was too hot and that the air conditioning wasn’t working properly. In the winter, we groan about the cold and in the summer, we moan about the heat. It seems that some of us are never happier than when we have something about which to complain. I digress. When the weather was at its best (or worst depending on your viewpoint), a colleague of mine went outside and bought an ice-cream. Knowing that I was trying to reduce my carbohydrate intake, he made a big show about eating it. He leaned in toward me and each lick of the ice cream was exaggerated with the express intention of trying to get me jealous and eventually go and buy my own!
Our verses today provide this exact same message. There is no doubt that Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was hugely successful. He travelled across seas and countries, preaching Christ and Him crucified wherever he went. He shared the message of Jesus to the rich and to the poor. He spoke with power and persuasion to the highly intelligent and to those who had no formal education. He became all things to all men so that he may save some. Here in verse 13, he says ‘I magnify my ministry’. What does that mean? It’s just like my colleague and the ice cream. He was determined to use what he was doing to provoke me to action. He exaggerated his actions to make a point. Paul also is doing the same thing. He is not telling any untruths, he’s not exaggerating by making things up as is the custom of many people.The original Greek word translated here as ‘magnify’ means ‘to hold in honour’. Paul is showcasing his ministry not in an act of arrogance, nor is he diminishing the gifts of God in his life. He is placing them humbly before the world, holding them up in honour and celebrating his ministry. He’s making a show of it so that it provokes people to think about God and to respond positively to the message of the Gospel.
Prayer and Application:
It’s always difficult to tell others of the goodness of God in our life without seemingly showing off. Arrogance is the fruit of a lack of humility so provided we always present ourselves as God’s servants, our ministry can and should be ‘magnified’ so that others are drawn to Christ and to His Salvation.