Paul – Acts 20:22-24
Acts chapter 9 records the account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to, as we refer to him, “The Apostle Paul.” Three days after appearing to Paul, the Lord called Ananias to pray for Paul in order that he might receive his sight, be filled with the Spirit, and be baptized. Jesus tells Ananias that Paul is a “chosen instrument” to evangelize the Gentiles and that he will “suffer much” for Christ’s name. Years later we find Paul (Acts 20) traveling through Ephesus on what will be his final pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There he will be imprisoned, and then be transferred to Rome where he is eventually executed.
Paul has lived out his commission; fearlessly preaching the gospel throughout Asia Minor; courageously facing staunch and often violent opposition to his message. Picking up in verse 22, we find insight into Paul’s willingness to sacrifice all for Christ, and the courage with which he did. First, he was compelled by the Holy Spirit (Note: Acts 1:8); second, he had a realistic view of the Christian life. Remember, Jesus called his disciples to take up a cross, not a couch, and follow Him (Note: Mt. 16:24 – 26). And third, Paul lived with a sense of destiny. He had a mission to fulfill, an assignment from God which was of more value to him than his own safety or security. For these reasons, he was willing to boldly sacrifice all for the cause of Jesus Christ.
What if the church of Branch County were to live with that same sense of courageous commitment? What if you and I were to fully yield to the compelling presence of God’s Holy Sprit within? How might that embolden our witness? What if we were to reject social status, creature comforts and cultural conveniences in favor of sacrificially serving Jesus Christ daily out in our community? What difference could that make? And what if, like Paul, we esteemed God’s purpose for our lives of ultimate value and lived accordingly? We also have a mission to fulfill, one that will require bold sacrifices day in and day out. A mission well worth the investment of all we have to give, and a mission that will impact lives, not only on earth but even in eternity.
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race
and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (Acts 20:24)