Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Starting the Race

Acts 20:24 - However, I consider my life nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

Paul viewed that his life was worth absolutely nothing unless he was using it for God's work. It did not matter if any accolades were put upon him, if he gained wealth, had friends, etc.  Nothing mattered unless he was using his life for God's work.

What we don't see at times when random scriptures are discussed is what was occurring before and after a particular verse.  When we expand our view to include verse 23 of Acts, I take away an even greater respect for Paul than I usually have.  In verse 23, we find that Paul knew that every town that he was going into he ran the risk (likelihood) of being imprisoned and that he would experience suffering.

He knew this.  And yet he still went on traveling from town to town prepared for pain and suffering with the belief and understanding that his life was worth nothing unless he was using it for God's work.

Paul was single-minded in his task to share the gospel with everyone he came into contact with.

What has God laid on your heart as your purpose?

When we discuss doing God's work make no mistake, God has bestowed upon everyone spiritual gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4:10,11 for scripture related to spiritual gifts).  There are many gifts, people have different gifts, some have more than one and one gift is not superior to another.  But whatever God has led you to in life - whether that be to a particular job, a particular place, a particular circumstance - you are to do it for the glory of God.  We are to use the bestowed gifts for the His glory and to build the body of Christ.

In verse 24, Paul talks about finishing the race.  In order to finish the race...

We have to start the race. 

We have to choose to be actively involved in that race.

We have to know what the goal is.  

We have to be willing to accept that there will be struggles along the way, that we will fall down and fail at times.  

But in the end, it will be worth it.

Have you started the race?  Have you embraced what God has placed on your heart as His will for you?  Personally, I have run away from God's plan more times that I have run towards his plan.  He knows and expects this as well.  And each time I run away and come back, He welcomes me with open arms and love and we move forward in the race.

Please know that God loves you at all times, when you are following his will and when you are struggling to.  His love is all powerful and his forgiveness covers all if you will let him in.

God has great plans for you (see Jeremiah 29:11).  Will you join Him?

Many blessings to you this day.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim