In Romans 11:13, the Apostle Paul inserts a short but pointed phrase which has the power both to convict and to inspire. He wrote simply: “I magnify my ministry.”
It seems that such a personal and dynamic statement may be better understood when it is exemplified than when it is exposited. But it has captured my imagination, and I thought that I would share a few thoughts on the subject—for my own sake, as well as those who read them.
In the context, Paul is talking about amplifying and projecting his ministry “to the Gentiles” (v. 13) in order to “provoke to jealousy” (v. 14) the Jewish people—in the sense of stirring their interest in the gospel of their very own Messiah. In essence, he wants his “countrymen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:3) to be motivated to ask, almost defensively, “Why are you Gentiles talking about such things which, by nature, belong to us as God’s chosen people?” This, he hoped, would drive them toward the message of salvation in Christ alone.
Still, I find myself fascinated by this phrase. What did Paul specifically do to enhance and advance his ministry in this way, and what can we learn from him? How can we apply this concept to our spheres of service?
I do not claim that my thoughts here are exhaustive or conclusive—I only hope that they are encouraging, enlightening and instructive.