Paul’s view of his calling was so clear and strong that everything he did was focused on fulfilling God’s purpose in ministry to others. He gave three examples prior to this verse of the good soldier, an athlete and a hard-working farmer. In all three, Paul points to a single minded attitude that is bent on accomplishing their purpose. Enduring suffering in all three cases was part of their calling. Paul is now giving himself as an example of one who endured “everything for the sake of the elect”.
There was no higher goal for Paul and there can be no higher goal for us than to do whatever is necessary so that the elect are saved and immediately grow in spiritual maturity. Is this your aim in life and ministry? If you are going through a tough time, as I am this week, ask God to give you His strength to endure, not for your sake, but for the sake of those you serve so they may be blessed and come into a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ.