Are they servants of Christ? (I am talking like I am out of my mind!) I am even more so: with much greater labors, with far more imprisonments, with more severe beatings, facing death many times. Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, in hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/2co.11.23-27.NET
Paul identifies his suffering for Christ and the cost of following Christ as his evidence for being God’s servant. Paul compares his suffering for Christ with those who claim to be super apostles for Christ. These super apostles boasted like our television preachers, identifying their wealth, their supposed miracles, and their accolades from their message as evidence of God’s choice of them. We, too, tend to think more highly of ourselves when we count our blessings rather than our costs. We measure success by fruit rather than expense. Even in giving, God in Jesus identified the greatest giver as the one who gave only a few pennies because it was all she had to live in. She paid all she had. We need to encourage one another in serving, giving, and sacrificing honor and prestige before men to increasingly lift the Name of Jesus so that He can draw more and more to Himself to glorify Him. As God came to serve and not be served, as God suffered public humiliation for our salvation, the greatest servant of all is the least of all, giving himself most of all for the greatest benefit of all until all follow Christ and obey His commands. This is the mark of the disciple, a humble, suffering, giving, serving, sacrificial person for the Lord Jesus and His glory upon earth as it is in heaven.