Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 142:1-7 | 2 Kings 17:1-18:12 | Acts 20:1-38 | Proverbs 18:6-7
Today’s Scripture Focus: Acts 20
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, 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 (Acts 20:22-24 NIV).
Paul may be uncertain about his future, but he is clear about his calling and purpose in life. He senses that the Holy Spirit is preparing him for prison and hardships in the days to come. Would this deter him from his task? Not at all! It seems to only intensify his passion for his God given calling to preaching the gospel.
Paul is not concerned about the hardships—he has had his share of them. He is not concerned about more prison time—something that he is also quite familiar with. In fact, he is not afraid to die. He considers his life to be of no value in comparison to his determination to finish the task he has been given: “to testify to the good news of God’s grace” (24).
Still haunted by his confrontation by the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul wants to finish the task he has given: to preach the gospel to those who haven’t heard. His life-changing encounter forever altered the course of his life and ministry. He refused to give up on the task now.
Paul’s reckless abandon to serve God in taking the gospel to the Gentiles is a challenge to us all. We are so easily deterred from the task, giving way to distractions, to fears, and to our desires for comfort. We who have encountered the risen Christ, even if our encounters were perhaps less dramatic than the Damascus Road, have a story to share. We whose lives have been shaped by the grace of God have a message to pass on.
God, give us determined hearts to press on in the call of God for our lives whatever the cost. Strengthen our hearts to follow you with such reckless abandon. Amen.