May 23, 2023
Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:17-27)
BEAR WITNESS: With this statement, Paul completes a 360 degree turn in the focus of his life. It wasn’t too long ago that Paul (Saul at the time) had but one purpose – to eradicate the believers in, and followers of, Jesus Christ. Their lives had no purpose, no value.
Now here we are, post-transformation, and Paul says he again has but one purpose: to finish his course and ministry and “to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” He is of such single-minded focus that now his life has no value.
Paul states a willingness to die in his effort to complete this task.
This is humbling to hear. I’m an ordained minister of the Church and have taken vows to do the work of the Church. But can I say that I am so committed, so focused, on that work that anything else, including my own life is “of no importance to me.” Would I be willing to die for this effort?
I, too, am undergoing transformation. However, it is not of the “knocked off my horse” variety. My transformation has been, and continues to be, moving much more slowly than Saul-Paul.
I have learned that I need to accept that about myself.
I am not totally committed to my faith and the work of the Church; but I am more committed today than I was yesterday. I am not as strong of a Christian man as God wants me to be; but I’m a stronger Christian man today than I was yesterday. I am skeptical that I would be willing to die for my faith if confronted with that today; but I hope a time will come when I am prepared to do so.
I have cut myself some slack. I have stopped beating myself up for being not good enough, holy enough, prayerful enough, worthy enough. However, I am of single-minded purpose: Each day I wake up with the intent of being better, holier, more prayerful, and more worthy than I was the day before.
I hope and pray, and believe in my heart, that my efforts in that regard are pleasing to God.