If Only I May Finish

“Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.  And when they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,  serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;  how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,  except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.  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… I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God… 

“‘And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified… ‘ And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

“Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’  And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’” Acts 20:17-24,27, 32,36; 21:13-14

When Paul was drastically saved, a testimony he repeatedly recounted, his mindset and passions were completely reoriented. The Lord had revealed that he would suffer much for the sake of His name, and a humbled, grateful Paul embraced that call wholeheartedly. His every breath was spent to finish the work God had saved him and sent him to do: preach the gospel. Even when fellow believers attempted to persuade him to avoid impending harm, it was important to him that they take note of and take up this passion to fix their eyes on Christ and finish His race. (Acts 9:10–16; 21:7-12; 2 Timothy 4:7)

Where has the Lord nudged us to serve and we have rebuffed His Spirit’s promptings due to ease and personal preference? Even when we say we are all in, are we prone to flagging in zeal and giving up when things get difficult? Where have we focused more on the risks and roadblocks than the promises of God? How many projects do we start and not finish? (Romans 12:11)

How might the Lord change our motivations to welcome His call with eagerness and faith? Maybe we list His promises, and memorize them. Could we match His word to every doubt and fear in order to face obstacles head-on? Would we pray for reoriented passions and bold courage?

It is an amazing gift to be saved by the relentless love of God. And it is an indescribable privilege to serve Him in response. Are we committed to finishing the course He marks for us?

Lord, may I finish all You’ve called me to do with zeal and for Your glory.

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