One day you will have your final meal, you will make your last statement, and you will breathe your last breath. What if you were to sum up your life right now? What would you say about your purpose on earth? What truths would you want to emphasize to friends, children, and family? What regrets would you have?
In Acts 20 we have the final words of the apostle Paul to the elders of the church he had started in Ephesus. Without question his words speak to any of us who are called to leadership in the church. But they also speak to us as Christians, telling us what our priorities ought to be.
I want to call your attention to one word in this passage: joy
. Paul said, “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). The word joy
in this verse could be translated “exceedingly happy.”
Were things going reasonably well for Paul? No. Paul had just said, “The Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me” (Acts 20:23). Paul was a man who knew what suffering was, what hardship was. Yet he was saying that in the midst of it all, there was joy.
Sometimes people think Christians live the most boring lives conceivable. Nothing could be further from the truth. The happy life is the holy life, the life that is lived for God. Jesus not only promised us life beyond the grave, but He certainly promised us a dimension of life on this earth that is worth living.