Have I lost you yet? :)
2 Corinthians 3 and 4 contain one of those types of passages...and I'm so thankful the Lord stopped me from being a lazy student of the Word and reminded me to slow down and read the full context. 2 Corinthians 4:1 says, "Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up."
What ministry? Did I miss something? This is the first verse of the chapter, after all. Yep....you gotta go back to the last verse of the previous chapter! 2 Cor. 3:18 says:
"We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit."
It is the ministry of reflecting the glory of the Lord, as He transforms our lives through His Word and trials, so that we might be more like Him, therefore reflecting Him all the more accurately.
And I LOVE the beautiful way Paul writes about those trials that are transforming us...."glory to glory" or, as the ESV says, "from one degree of glory to another".
So, even if your husband doesn't carry the title "pastor" and your family's salary doesn't come from the church...don't think for one moment that you are not in ministry! We all are...and, at it's core, our ministry is all the same. To reflect the glory of the Lord!
How do we do this? We live before others as what we are...jars of clay that are often afflicted, discouraged, and perplexed but who have great hope in the Treasure living inside of us, our mighty Lord. They see us as not losing heart at the momentary trials because we know there is enough grace for those trials and they become "glory" moments as we reflect the greatness of our God in and through them. They see us as joyful even when our outer man is wasting away, because we can't wait for Heaven, to finally be home with Jesus, free from sin and the sorrow of this fallen world. In the ordinary and mundane to the tragedies and unexpected, they see us reflecting the One Whom we love, our Lord Jesus Christ!
May our "reflection ministry" be such "so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God" (2. Cor. 4:15)
"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere." 2 Corinthians 2:14