“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” — Acts 20:24
Paul desired what every follower of Jesus desires:
- To finish his course with joy
- To carry out the ministry that Jesus had given him
- To testify the gospel of the grace of God
None of us want to quit. None of us what to finish with regret or sadness. None of us want to leave the ministry God has for us undone. And none of us want to fail to testify of the gospel of God’s grace.
But, how do we successfully finish the course God has for us? How we finish with joy? How do we faithfully proclaim God’s gospel?
There are many answers, but a good place to start is with: 1) not being moved by fear of hard things that could happen to us, and 2) not counting our lives dear to ourselves.
In every city Paul went to, the Holy Ghost told him that bonds and afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem (Acts 20:23). Certainly, his experience had been that he was mistreated and persecuted almost everywhere he went. Paul was accustomed to persecution.
So, if we are going to finish the race God has for us, fulfill the ministry God has for us, and faithfully preach the gospel, we have to stop caring about what happens to us. We have to stop counting our lives dear. We have to stop being moved and deterred by suffering, bonds, and affliction.
Imagine what could be accomplished if we weren’t worried about how hard it was or how tough it would be. Most of our failures come when we start protecting ourselves and when we care too much about our own lives. Paul and Barnabas “hazarded their lives” for the name of Jesus. And if we really want to complete God’s ministry then we must be willing to risk our lives as well.
Jesus put it like this, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”