“My Life, My Course”
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto my self, 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 seems to speak here of the life with which the Lord had entrusted him, and the course on which the Lord had set him. Many have said either by word or deed; “It is my life, I’ll live it the way I want!” Will you?
My life, how does it count? How do I count it? What use shall be made of my living? We are warned from many directions, “If you value your life, or health, you will do such and such, or will not do thus and such.” How can you preserve or save your life?
Read these words of Jesus in Mt. 16:24-26, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
It is amazing that, of all that is done to preserve youth and life today, the greater part is wasted. Staying in the top physical condition possible, does not enable one to avoid illness or death. Thank God for the privilege of presenting our body a living sacrifice. Rom. 12:1-2, “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
You may try living selfishly…not putting yourself out for anyone, not going out of your way for anyone, but live (?) to your own satisfaction, pleasure, comfort and glory. Such will not be eternally beneficial for you. Rom. 14:7-9, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
Also II Cor. 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” Living unto oneself makes for an empty shallow unsatisfactory existence here and now, without reckoning on the scale of the eternal.
What is your life? Is it not a vapor? James 4:13-15, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
Praise God, our lives may contain valuable eternal substance, being fruitful, productive unto glory, or pass as a shadow or a mist.
Paul’s life counted, was worth while. His living was not in vain, because he lived unto the Lord. Such living benefits others. Fear of death seems to overwhelm those who live selfishly. Those trying to preserve their life unto themselves, lose it or lose the enjoyment of (living) it.
Paul enjoyed living (and we may do the same) by pouring out his life unto the Lord. Phil. 2:17, “Yea, and if I be offered (poured forth) upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” II Cor. 12:15, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”
II Tim. 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Paul did indeed finish his course with joy. Jesus is coming soon, how shall we then live?