I recall coming to the end of my graduate studies in Munich, Germany, back in 1974. I had no idea where to go. I was ready to enter any ministry the Lord would open for me. I sent my resume to dozens of schools and missions and agencies. One of the most encouraging letters I received in those days was from my friend and former professor, Daniel Fuller. He knew I was struggling to trust God for a place of ministry. So he quoted a little-known verse, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 'Since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart.' He pointed out the word 'as' in the phrase 'as we received mercy.' Then he showed me the link between 'having a ministry' and 'receiving mercy.' He said that ministry is given as freely and as sovereignly and as graciously as the first experience of mercy that we received in salvation. That is what I needed then. And that is what I need now, to press on in ministry. The place of ministry, and the ongoing performance of ministry, are gifts of grace, just like my conversion was.
John Piper, Future Grace (Sisters: Multnomah, 1995), 296