The verse that particularly struck me was Acts 20:24. It cites words spoken by the apostle Paul to the elders (the pastors) of the church in Ephesus as he said goodbye to them. (He was on his way to Jerusalem.) Paul didn't expect to see the Ephesian Christians again. Luke the evangelist, present for this meeting, quotes Paul as saying:
"...I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."Anyone familiar with Paul's New Testament writings will be persuaded that Luke is quoting Paul with total accuracy. The words are reminiscent of something Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)Big idea:
This life is most fully lived when living this life to the fullest is not our aim. But when our lives are spent with the aim of "finishing the race" and "completing the task" the Lord has given to us with faithfulness, this life, even when marred by difficulties, is lived to the fullest.My prayer:
Every individual believer in Christ has differing gifts, talents, and experiences. So, each of us will finish the race and complete the task in different ways.
But for each of us, the task is always the same: In response to the grace of God that saves all who trust in the crucified and risen Jesus, we're to give glory to God by loving God, loving others, and sharing Christ in order to make disciples in Jesus' Name. A life focused on these aims, whatever work we do, is a life well spent.
Lord, use me up to Your glory and help me to love You completely, love others as You loved us through Jesus, and share Christ with others with the prayer that they too, will have the forgiveness of sin and everlasting life Jesus came to our world to bring. In Jesus' Name. Amen