8 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,
In verses eight and nine, Paul gave two purposes:
He was to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (v. 8).
He was to show the plan of the mystery (v. 9).
8 To me,
Paul was amazed that of all believers everywhere God chose him as the apostle to the Gentiles.
who am less than the least [emphatic] of all the saints,
Paul presently deemed himself at the bottom of the totem pole of saints, even as an apostle. His statement was not self-deprecation but shows a consciousness of his unworthiness to represent God on earth. This was probably due to the fact that he murdered so many saints before he became a believer (1 Co 15:9,10; 1 Ti 1:12-13, 15). Not only was Paul less than the apostles, but he was less than even the saint without any office.
this grace was given,
Although viewing himself at such a low estate, Paul recognized that God’s grace that allowed him in ministry transcended his past. His purpose was not to minimize himself but to magnify the grace of God. There was no merit in Paul that put him in ministry.
that I should preach among the Gentiles
God gave to Paul the designation of minister to the Gentiles.
the unsearchable [untraceable] riches of Christ,
No one can fully search out the “riches of Christ.” We cannot fathom these riches. It is impossible to fully comprehend them. Gentiles, when they became Christians, were to receive riches about their status or position with Christ before God.
Ro 11: 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
Any ministry that we might have is a gift of God’s grace.
None of us deserves to serve the Lord. If we do, it is because of God’s unadulterated grace. All of us are so hopelessly undeserving that it is amazing that God would use us at all. God owes us nothing when it comes to His using us.
The riches of Christ cannot be fully explored. We cannot plumb them. They are infinitely abundant. Some riches in underground mines appear to be inexhaustible. No one can fully explore Christ’s treasures for the believer. It is a profound privilege to represent such a message to the world.
People who have a clear estimation of how God views them are usable to Him. An understanding of the absolute righteousness of God and our unworthiness will produce humility. There is such a thing as phony humility or false modesty, where a person is proud of his humility. A person with true humility always puts himself in the place of how God views him. We always fall short of that standard (1 Ti 1:15). We should carry a sense of unworthiness before God. This attitude does not diminish our utility by God but, rather, it is vital to how God uses us.