‘Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.’ — Ephesians 3:13
Paul was a prisoner for preaching – specifically for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Eph 3:1). The Jews did not like him preaching to the Gentiles, and they really did not appreciate His emphasis on Jews and Gentiles being part of a new body, the church.
But Paul was not concerned about the sufferings he faced for this ministry. Paul was focused on the glory that would come through his faithfulness to carry out the ministry God had for him.
In Ephesians 3, Pauls explains the incredible privilege he had to have God’s revelation of the church, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, revealed to him (v.2-7). He is blown away by the fact that he, ‘the least of all saints’ would be given the privileged to preach among the Gentiles ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (v.8). And He knows that what God is doing in the church is to show to ‘principalities and powers’ ‘the manifold wisdom of God’ (v.9-10).
So, after a long interruption (v.2-12), in which Paul interrupts himself just before he is about to pray, Paul encourages the Ephesians believers to not be discouraged by his tribulations and his imprisonment.
For Paul, everything he went through was totally worth it because he knew that God would be glorified through His efforts and the Gentiles believers would glory in the work of Christ in their lives.
For those who work to build up the Lord’s church, for those who seek to advance the gospel, for those who suffer for these efforts, let us remember that it is worth it! Let us not faint at our tribulations or other’s tribulations in gospel work. It is worth it so that God is glorified by the church and so that we can glory in the work that Christ does in and through the church.