And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 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 20:22-24
Meditation: When I was a boy, I loved to race other boys on the play ground, and one of my favorite things was to run the anchor leg in the 440 relay at the annual field day. My long legs were my only real advantage, but I loved running as a team, passing this baton around the track dashing my 110 yards to the finish line. This race stimulated an appreciation for competition, but more importantly it reinforced my desire to work in concert with others toward a larger goal. Later on in high school, university and even in my career, I gravitate toward these larger tasks where a team is paramount. In these situations, my greatest joy is knowing that I have contributed all I have to the team. When my assigned course is well-done, I can ask no more.
The Apostle Paul also enjoyed working with others toward a common goal, and he left evidence of how he worked with the elders and the saints to build up the early church with the common goal of ministering the good news of the grace of God. The Book of Acts as well as the Pauline epistles all point to this ministerial goal: edify the church of Jesus Christ. In deed we might easily demonstrate that all of the Apostles and Jesus Christ Himself worked in concert with others to carry out the will of God the Father.
While it is absolutely true that only Jesus Christ could live out the mission of the Savior, He has left it largely to His ministers (us) to share the good news of this great salvation with all of His people. This is the edification of the Church. So what are we doing about it? Can we say now that we are on track to finish our course with joy? Are we in line to hand our baton to the next generation? Are they in position with arm outstretched to receive it?
Call to Action: It is easy to worry about tomorrow, but let us concern ourselves with the tasks of today (Matthew 6:34). By remaining true to our Lord and His will, we provide an immense example to our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, and our grandchildren. Whether you believe you have 50 years or 50 days ahead of you, be sure to stay the course and find joy in the work before you. It is God’s work after all.