Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Move in the Right Direction

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24 NLT)

Corrie ten Boom said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration but its donation.”

It’s important to think about what kind of donation our lives are making. In Acts 20, the apostle Paul identified what the measure of a person ought to be and the qualities we should see in the life of a leader.

In a way, every Christian is a leader. We may be leading our children. Or, we may be examples to younger believers. But we need to take to heart what Paul says. 

This was an emotional moment for the apostle. He was giving his final words to the leaders of the church of Ephesus. Paul had spent time ministering to them, helping them, praying for them, and caring for them. But he was going away.

In effect Paul was saying, “This is what I want you to remember. These are things that should describe your walk with God.”

He told them, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God” (verse 24 NLT).

The New King James Version puts it this way: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul compared himself to a runner in a race. Using the same analogy in 1 Corinthians, he said, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” (9:24 NLT). We can get off track in the race of life. That’s why it’s important to focus on our own race and not on the race others are running.

It’s also important for us to understand that our times are in God’s hands. Our lives are a gift to us from God. God decides when they begin. And God decides when they end.

Paul wasn’t saying that life wasn’t important, because he wrote to the believers in Philippi, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better” (Philippians 1:21 NLT). Paul was simply saying that he knew his life was a gift from God.

In his book Nearing Home, Billy Graham wrote, “I often wonder if God, in His sovereignty, allows the eyesight of the aged to cast a dim view of the here and now so that we may focus our spiritual eyes on the ever after.”[1]

As we see the frailty of life, especially when we’ve lost a loved one, eternity becomes more tangible and important to us.

The length of our lives is determined by God, not by us. So, we want to make sure that we’re moving in the right direction now. The evening of our life is determined by the morning of it. The end is determined by the beginning.

Copyright © 2023 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

[1] Billy Graham, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011), 15.

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