Acts 20:24 revisited (not for the last time).

May 2, 2009

About a year ago, I wrote an entry about Acts 20:24.  It’s been a verse that has anchored me again and again.

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.

To know Christ and to live Acts 20:24.  The rest are really details — details that must remain minute, lest life for Christ be consumed with unprofitable details.

This verse has become increasingly precious over the years as its truth has anchored me and reminded me of God-given purpose through various trials, heartbreak, disappointments, failures, and seasons of (what seemed to be His) silence.  It serves as a template of sorts in decision-making, whether circumstantial decision-making: This way or that?, or decisions of the heart and attitude: How will I respond?

I’ve found it necessary to lay aside, though sometimes with tears and much difficulty, whatever did not align with this framework of thinking and living.  And I’m still learning to do that with less of a struggle.

But perhaps Acts 20:24 was more of Spirit-aided will and principle than of passive description in the Apostle Paul’s life.  It was his relentless determination because of his relentless love for the Savior and the lost.

In light of the Savior, the gospel, and the saving of the lost, his life was of no account.  Of no value.  His life only had value inasmuch as he was given breath to finish his course and his ministry: to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

It was a ministry given to him by the Lord Jesus.  What a precious gift.

Paul’s life was nothing — worthless — if not given to do what Jesus called him to do.  This bondservant found purpose in the proclamation of his good Master and his good Master’s message.  So, what did it matter if he had to bear labors, imprisonments, countless beatings, whippings, stoning, shipwreck, danger, toil, hardship, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold, exposure, or pressure (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)?

This was no long-faced carrying of the cross or morbid obsession with self-abasement and asceticism.  This was a joyful, joyful embrace of something (Someone) greater than himself.

Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves, but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray
Your kingdom come

Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done
So that everyone might know Your Name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
‘Til Your sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your kingdom come

Give us Your strength, O God, and courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds
Through those who are weak
Lord, use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we’ll preach Your gospel
‘Til our dying breath

(Lyrics by Bob Kauflin)

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