Paul was very clear about where his ability came from and who should get the credit for his success in ministry. On some points, Paul had written “very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace of God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles” (Romans 15:15). Again, he says, “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace” (Ephesians 3:7). He follows this by emphatically stating, “though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given” (3:8). It was not his education or status as an Israelite (see Philippians 3:4-7) which he considered all “loss for the sake of Christ”. They were all nothing, and he felt unworthy of such grace.
Even after all he had accomplished by the time he wrote his sixth letter Romans, Paul insisted that he would “not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience” (Romans 15:18). Paul took no credit for what happened in others through preaching the gospel. It was what “Christ has accomplished”! The more we acknowledge “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), the more our hearts will be filled with joy in His eternal work, not our momentary efforts.