Today’s scripture selection: Acts 19-20
Key Verses: Acts 20:22-24
He had endured much. And he knew there was still much more to come. Upon leaving them, the apostle Paul told his dear friends in Ephesus that he knew what was in store for him.
“And now, compelled by the Holy 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.”
He understood that a life of obedient, faithful service came with a high price-tag.
Still, he knew something else.
“However, 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 – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
It was all about finishing well.
It takes me back to my memories of running on a long track in high school. I was no athlete, and every lap was more difficult than the one before. But, like a lot of kids in high school, I had a coach who had only one thing on his mind – we would all – every one of us – especially the ones who were out of shape – we would all finish the race, as best we could.
Let’s just say it didn’t instill in me a love for running.
But if we can embrace a little of Paul’s spirit; that coach’s determination; in our spiritual life – I know it will be worth it.
We all have a “race” to run, one way or another. And I believe we are all given certain abilities; certain spiritual gifts that we can and should put to use in God’s kingdom.
Hardship comes with the package. Often, the more determined we are about finishing our own particular race; the more difficult it will become. There are forces in the universe that don’t want to see us make it.
But if we can remember, as Paul did, that ultimately fulfilling our God given mission is what counts – I believe God will give us the strength and will to do just that.
So run well. Run with determination. Run with courage and hope. Run – and finish – well.
You’ll be glad you did. And the very kingdom of God will rejoice.
Prayer: Lord, when I tire of the race, strengthen me, that I might finish well. AMEN.