1 Corinthians 15:10, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
Paul, comparing himself to the other apostles, acknowledges his hard labour, but he does not seek the credit. Yet he does not seek the credit just for the sake of humility; he truly knows and believes his apostolic work was made possible by the grace of God. We should all be like Paul in any work we do—any vocation we have. The mother can breastfeed her child because God’s grace allows it. The father disciplines his children because God’s grace allows it. God’s grace allows the employee to work adequately and competently, the pastor to shepherd faithfully and gently, the student to study adequately, and so on. It is for God’s good pleasure that we fulfil our vocations.
We would do well to know that God’s grace is with us in all our labours, even when we fail. God’s grace does not abandon us when we fail. It is not as though we succeed only because God’s grace is with us (for even the evil succeed). If anything, God’s grace is even more present for us to cling to in our failures. It is not within God’s character to abandon the weak. Historically, He liberates them, heals them, and exalts them. Thus, we know we can still cling to God’s grace when we become weak and fail. We can sing along with Mary, “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humbled estate” (Luke 1:52).