“My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 [NIV]
If you have time today, read Acts 20:13-38
The sermon that we’re looking at is Paul’s message to the elders of the Ephesian church. Other sermons we have considered have been aimed at people who didn’t yet believe, but this is a talk aimed at a group of Christian leaders from the city of Ephesus. Paul hadn’t given a great deal of time and effort to the church in Ephesus, he had seen it established and begin to flourish in spite of persecution. He is on his way to Jerusalem and has a stop at the port of Miletus which is near Ephesus, sending word to the Ephesian leaders to visit him for a last meeting.
It’s an emotional occasion, but what is more apparent than anything is Paul’s single-minded passion for fulfilling the calling that Jesus had given him. He describes his ministry of preaching and teaching, seeing people come to faith and building up new believers (v18-21), he tells them of his fears for the future (v22-23), but what is most important to him is that he finishes the task that Jesus gave him of speaking of God’s grace (v24). He calls the leaders to be faithful to the task given to them: to be vigilant in keeping watch over the church, shepherding it like a flock (v28).
What task have you been called to? We each have a part to play in “testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (v24), but what does that look like specifically for you? What task has God given you in your work or in your family? What task has he called you to in the life of the local church? You may be at a place where you sense a call to a new task, or that one is nearing completion. You may be confused about what God has asked you to do – maybe he’s asking you to do what is already in front of you. Maybe this week spent looking at sermons has given you a new hunger to communicate the good news – pray that God would help you and give you opportunities. But whatever it is let’s pray that we would do it with a single-minded passion like Paul’s.
Reflection: Paul’s calling was costly, involving suffering and hardships. Is there cost involved in the task to which God has called you? How is God asking you to deal with that cost?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you have called me to know you and serve you. Give me strength in the tasks in front of me, and a single-minded passion for you. Thank you that you are the God of all grace, and that you have been gracious with me. Help me be gracious with others in turn today. Amen.
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald