By discrediting his own success and achievement for the kingdom of God, Paul emphasizes the graciousness of God, who has called him to the task of preaching the gospel. He further asserts that the church is the chosen instrument God is using to make his plan for salvation known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. What is clear is that neither his personal calling nor the church’s is outside of God’s purposes. Rather, it was God’s plan all along that through Christ all the peoples of the world may know the unspeakable riches of relationship with the Father. God, in his grace, uses both individuals and communities of faith to accomplish these purposes.
Reading words like these can and should inspire us to engage with God’s mission in the world with boldness and confidence. But Paul’s humility should also serve as our greatest reminder of the proper posture for both the individual and the church as we seek to bring to light the unspeakable riches offered in Christ Jesus. Paul’s humility demonstrates for us that it is not our experience, education, or expertise that qualifies us to preach the gospel but simply God’s grace that has brought us from death to life.