In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ. (NRSV)
Already beginning to conclude his letter, Paul can look behind him, evaluate a good career as apostle that included the missionary tours mentioned in Acts (and he will yet continue his ministry with a trip to the island of Crete and possibly, on his return to Ephesus, on to Macedonia and once again to Rome to appear before the tribunal). He was always busy with his service to the Lord and affirms with certain (justified) satisfaction: “in Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God…” That is, he has good reason to “boast”!
As we approach the end of the year, I hope you can say something similar as you look back over the year of accomplishments at work, with your family and friends and your community of worship. Thanks be to God!
One detail…isn’t it interesting the way Paul expresses himself: “my work for God” and “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me…”. Paul knows how to boast about the right things without calling praise or merit for himself.
Yes, we boast. But we boast in what God does among people.
Dear Father, we want to thank you for using us as instruments. We want to thank you, for by your Spirit we can experience and share wonders. In Jesus name. Amen.