Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. (Ephesians 3:13)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How is Paul’s suffering the glory of the Ephesian Christians? Why would he say that? Paul suffered for the Name of Jesus. When the Gospel was first preached in the city of Ephesus, Paul got in trouble. He preached Christ to a city that was proud of Diana, a Roman goddess, who made the smiths and shopkeepers a whole lot of money in the fake god souvenir industry. But Paul was there to preach Christ and preach Christ he did.
Because Paul suffered, the Ephesians were saved by the preaching of Christ crucified and risen from the dead. That’s what Paul means. In the big scheme of things, Paul would rather suffer persecution if it meant that the Ephesians heard the Gospel and were saved!
That’s the strange thing about the Christian faith. It is a message of life that is hated by a sinful world which persecutes and tries to destroy it. But Jesus doesn’t let that stop the Gospel. The Spirit continues to bring that Good News of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake.
So your glory is your pastor’s suffering. Now, he may not be in a prison camp, but he did have to put up with you in confirmation classes. He’s the one who is troubled and wonders why you can stay out late on Saturday but not make time for church. He’s the one who preaches Christ and reminds you of your Baptism so that you will not be led astray by all those fake religions out there that want to make you trust in yourself.
All of that is the Lord’s work. The Lord worked through the sufferings of Paul to bring the Good News of His death and resurrection to those pagan Ephesians. He has worked through the toil and labor and sometimes suffering of your pastor to do the same―to save you from sin and death, make you His child, and give you everlasting life through His Son. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son And bring to naught all He has done. (Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word, LSB 655:1)