Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (ESV)
There are some who think that ministry is about getting a job which pays them well and having a congregation of people who are impressed with every thing you say. We call them first year Seminary students. The reality is that true ministry for Jesus Christ is all about sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed his life for us, and we in turn lay our lives down for Him.
The Apostle Paul has a description of ministry that is most beneficial for us. He describes himself as being poured out as a drink offering. This illustration is lost on most of us in today's culture. Because we are not familiar with actual sacrifices, whether to God himself, or even to false idols, we would likely miss what Paul is saying here. Dr. John MacArthur will help us to understand:
"He is referring to his sacrificial ministry among the Philippians. Drink offering. This refers to the topping off of an ancient animal sacrifice. The offerer poured wine either in front of or on top of the burning animal and the wine would be vaporized. That steam symbolized the rising of the offering to the deity for whom the sacrifice was made (cf. Ex. 29:38–41; 2 Kings 16:13; Jer. 7:18; Hos. 9:4). Paul viewed his entire life as a drink offering, and here it was poured on the Philippians’ sacrificial service."
- Dr. John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible Notes
In what way are you serving the Lord? Maybe you are a Sunday School teacher at your church. Perhaps you are an usher. Maybe you are the janitor. Everything that is done for the Lord is ministry. You will be most satisfied in your efforts if you give them sacrificially to the Lord. Do not look for anyone's approval. Give to Jesus everything. It will be a drink offering, pleasing to the Lord.
Ask the Lord to show you the areas of ministry that he has for you. Give yourself to that ministry with everything you have. The church is waiting for you.