Usually when we hear that word “bestowed” it means something very positive. A university bestows an honorary degree to a famous person. A will bestows a sizable inheritance to someone who loved the deceased greatly. Honor is bestowed upon those who struggled bravely for a nation’s independence. Bestow is a powerful word. So when I was reading a passage in Colossians today, I couldn’t help but notice it.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. – Colossians 1:24-29, NASB
Paul talked about being made a minister because of the stewardship from God. God saw that there were those who could use the talents, skills, and experience Paul had. So Paul was called to serve God as a minister. Notice that this stewardship from God was bestowed upon Paul. Paul realized that God had given him a very special privilege to serve. There were Christians who needed leadership and teaching. They needed someone who would care about them, who would look to serve their needs, and they needed a person who didn’t take those needs lightly. That person was Paul. Now Paul could have reacted a different way. He could have said, “Look, folks, I’m only doing this because it’s got to be done. Let’s get it done right the first time so I can go back home to what I want to do.” But that’s not what Paul wrote. He wrote that the stewardship from God was bestowed upon him. It was a gift. It was a treasure. Matthew Henry commented that Paul “took it as a favour.”
That’s the way I look at any service God calls me to. I know where I’d be without Him. I know what kind of earthly life I’d likely be leading. And I know what kind of eternal life I would be bound for. Add to those things that when I consider that God extends an invitation to serve Him and to serve others, despite my sin, I am humbled. I see every opportunity for service as a gift. Indeed, as Matthew Henry wrote, God is doing me a favor. So I think I understand how Paul feels. And when I talk about serving God to others, I try to explain why I feel the way I do. I want them to see what I see: though I’m unworthy, God is trusting me with tasks for His Kingdom. He’s handing me a job because He believes in me. And He will be there, standing by me, helping me succeed, if I just let Him.
This is true for anyone and everyone He calls into His service. It may not be as a minister as Paul was called. But whatever God calls us to do, He’s doing us a favor. He’s giving us a break. He’s saying, “I’m going to give you this responsibility. Though your sin disqualifies you, I’m making an exception just for you. And if you need Me, I’m right here. Just call on Me. I want you to succeed.” Stop and think about that for a moment. Have you heard God’s call and are serving in ministry? Rejoice! You’ve been given a special favor by the Most High God. Or are you listening for God to call you? Don’t worry, He will. Then, rejoice! For your chance to shine is coming. Your time to make our Heavenly Father proud of you will be at hand. And whatever you need, He will have for you. We need to have this sort of attitude towards Christian service. We need to want to serve, realizing that it is a privilege from our Lord. That does so much for our attitude and our faith. May you rejoice in the service God calls you to this day.