In vs. 6-7 Paul lists the “tools” he and his team use in their ministry. In vs. 5 and 8-10, Paul lists some serious hardships but states that he and his ministry team could redefine their circumstances because of Christ. As I imagine what they might have felt like, I think that they had a purpose, burning like a fire, that provided a strong light in any dark situation. “Had a purpose” isn’t really what I’m trying to say. It’s more like understanding purpose. It’s the feeling of when you know God satisfies every need and then abundantly more. That we can trust in the most mighty and most perfect being in all existence. And that we are loved by the highest and holiest. The knowledge of that security, trust and love allows us to look at earthly “disasters” in a whole new light because we are satisfied beyond the world’s terms and we don’t define success the way the world does. It’s like Psalm 139 that praises God by saying “the darkness is as light to you”. God gives us the grace and love to view any “dark” situation as if darkness didn’t matter because the darkness and light are the same thing– He is there in both. How great is our Father! It would be very odd to proclaim this message through any other form of ministry other than one characterized by the things listed in vs. 6-7. (Self-evaluation question, are my idesa of ministry and the ministries I’m involved in characterized by this list?) This passage helped me understand ministry as God working through us. Administration often describes people who accomplish tasks through other people. Ministry is letting God accomplish his purposes through us, like he did with the prophets, Mary, patriarchs, numerous characters in the OT and ultimately Christ. I am most likely to miss a ministry opportunity because of my own fears. This passage reminds me that 1. the tools for ministry are from God and the Holy Spirit, not from me and 2. God has already saved me, what else could I possibly be afraid of?