But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
– Acts 20:24
So, let’s take stock for a minute or two. What if this year was to be your last year on earth? If you only had one year left, how would you live your life? Would you live it any differently than your previous year? This is something we need to come to grips with, because we as believers want to deal with reality. We want to face the facts of the brevity of life on earth and the reality of life in the future. We want to consider these things, and order our lives accordingly. It was Moses who wrote: “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Take the time to read Acts 20:17-38 to get the big picture. Then we’ll do a quick flyover of verse 24. Paul met with the elders of Ephesus, and told them solemnly that this was the last time he would ever see their faces – until they were all together again in heaven. His words, then, were heavy words, and he wanted them to understand these priorities that were closest to his heart. Paul states in the beginning of verse 24 that he does not account his life of any value or precious to himself unless he accomplishes these three things.
Number one, Paul states in verse 24 , “…if only I finish my course”. You are a runner in a race of life, and your objective is to finish the race. This past year “the race” has been a challenge in so many ways. With that in mind, let’s run to win and not let anyone or anything cut in on us or somehow steal our prize.
Number two, you are a steward or servant to the Lord. Paul continues, “…and the ministry I received from the Lord.” Your sole responsibility here on earth is to please and serve your Master, not yourself. He has given you a ministry. Maybe not like Paul, but the Lord has given you something to do. What is that this year?
Number three, you are to testify, commissioned to deliver a specific message from the King Himself, that is the gospel. You’re here to testify of what God has done in your life. You have a responsibility to warn those who live their lives apart from God that there will be consequences for that. But as you tell your spiritual story you can also see good things on the horizon as well as bad, and we can freely declare the hope, help, and blessings available with men and women who turn to God and place their lives in His hands.
Pray this verse with your time in mind.
“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).
Lord, please help me to do Your will and not my will this coming year. What do You have for me to do and who should I share the gospel with?
Dr. Cameron Garven
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union Nova (Princeton University)
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