“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Paul, towards the end of his life in Acts 20
The mark of Christ in us is love.
In Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian church, he gives this powerful speech revealing his hearts desires. He says here that he doesn’t count his life any value compared to the task of finishing the ministry that he has from God.
How should we interpret this passage?
Religious affection? Religious duty? Obligation?
When I read it, I sense this: love.
It reminds me of the same heart of a man who wants to carry out the dying wishes of his deceased wife. When one is given into love, they become more sacrificial, and their lives become less of their own.
Paul demonstrates the mark of Christ in us–love for him. Yet a very particularly kind of love is modeled…
It’s a love that is sacrificial.
It’s not a flowerly or cheap love. Rather, it’s a love that places their own lives as secondary. A love that’s inebriating, satisfying, freeing, healing, forgiving, purpose-giving, having tasted truly once, nothing else matters. No one else matters. No other plans.
That is the love that God calls us towards.
There’s something about American Christianity which keeps this kind of love at a distance–pushed away by our secondary and superfluous desires and pursuits. It is pushed away because we are trained to love ourselves before we love God. And so His love sadly becomes unrequitted.
Lord, you call me to love. To sacrificial love. Birth this love in me.