To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul writes that he is “less than the least of all the saints.” In short, he is nothing. And you? Do you gladly confess to everybody that you are less than the least of all the saints? Nothing? Dead?
You may accept that you’re not perfect, but that your imperfections make you “less than the least”? Jesus gives you “unsearchable riches,” after all. How dare Paul, or anyone, expect you to tear yourself down, extinguish your dreams, and come clean about all your weaknesses. Who does Paul think he is?
It’s ironic then that the One who ends up mutilated for the things you own, for the thing that owns you—your sin—is Jesus Himself. He who said cut off your hand and foot if it causes you to sin was hanged hand and foot from the cross. He who advised plucking out your eye rather than sinning shut both His eyes in death for you.
Despite that, you’re stuck on a handful of riches—your feeble attempts at self-sufficiency and your self-justifications. But that’s who you are. There’s no use denying it. Jesus claimed it all when He was nailed to the cross. You, like Paul and all sinners, stand in need of grace, not self-esteem. You don’t need uplifting sermons and clever worship songs. You don’t need to be complete. To be content. To be perfect.
The grace you need, the riches that will last you into life-everlasting are Christ’s gifts to you—His costly, hard-earned grace given to you in earthly words, water, bread, and wine. In Jesus then, it’s even grace to hear the awful judgment of God. It’s grace that ensures you are blessed by Him with wisdom that appreciates the value God places on your deaths and lives. In this way, set free from worries, you confess with the apostle that in relation to Jesus you are the least of all the saints: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Restrain, O Lord, the human pride That seeks to thrust Your truth aside Or with some man-made thoughts or things Would dim the words Your Spirit sings. (Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide, LSB 585:5)