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Unless I Use It

Unless I Use It

24 October 2009

Scripture:

21 I have had one message for Jews and Gentiles alike—the necessity of turning from sin and turning to God, and of faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 And now I am going to Jerusalem, drawn there irresistibly by the Holy Spirit, not knowing what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit has told me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love. (Acts 20:21-24 NLT)

This story of Paul’s goodbye to the Ephesian church leaders is very poignant for me. Jean and I have had some bittersweet goodbyes at pivotal change-points in our life together. I remember leaving Medford, Oregon in 1984, after praying with the congregation, looking back and seeing the leaders standing in the road as we drove away. Then in 1990, leaving the Bible Training Centre in Kingston, Jamaica after pouring our lives into others for nearly seven years. Then leaving London and ELBTC in 1999, after eight years of challenging, satisfying, fruitful labor and good friendships.

Paul is saying goodbye to the leaders of this good church he founded. He had invested himself in these people, and he knows he will not see them again. Warned by prophecies from God that if he continues on to Jerusalem it will mean imprisonment and suffering, he maintains his determination to continue on because he is living a God-directed life.

Paul could settle down and retire comfortably in Corinth, Ephesus, or Antioch and enjoy the fruits of his labors – really enjoy the latter years of his life. But Paul’s statement tells the story… “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.”

What made Paul’s life worthwhile was doing the work God assigned him. For Paul, this meant continually moving on to tell people the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.

What makes my life worthwhile? Am I clear on the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus? Are my values in line with the assignment? Can I say, like Paul, that my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus?

Prayer:

Father, Thanks for giving me purpose, direction, abilities, and the opportunity to serve. Help me to keep my values straight and my purpose clear. May my life be worthwhile according to your purpose for me. I determine to remain faithful, teachable, and adjustable. Please encourage someone who reads this today that you have a “life-worthwhile-making” assignment for them to do as well. Amen.

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