Monday, May 8, 2017 Finish the Race

Daily Bible Reading:  2 Kings 4-6, Luke 24:36-53H-Icon_Ch30_Chain

Today’s reading in “The Story” is found in your book starting on page 439 (chapter 30) and it ends in the middle of page 440 at the end of the paragraph that concludes with the sentence: “Then they accompanied him to the ship.”

If you do not have “The Story” you may read the passages in the NIV Bible:  Acts 20:13-28, 36-38.

In our reading today, it is easy to get the idea from his actions and the description of his travel itinerary, that Paul was working from a sense of urgency about everything he did.  Ephesus farewellHe wanted to reach Jerusalem in time for Pentecost, so he went along the route that would ensure him the most efficient means by which to get there on time.

However, he also had a sense of urgency to meet with people who were from the churches he had either helped or started along the way.  In today’s reading he especially made it a point to meet with the elders of the church at Ephesus.  He wanted to say his goodbyes because he was aware that he was moving closer and closer to his own death.  He knew that he would be put to death for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

How many of us worry about being killed for telling people about Jesus?  Has it ever crossed your mind that someone might kill you for telling others about your salvation that Jesus gave you?  Paul was in the early Christian church, which was under direct persecution from, not only the Roman government, but also from the religious Jews, especially the leadership among them.

But Paul knew that it was coming. His own death was imminent.  But he also knew that there was nothing he could do, but to rely on the Holy Spirit and continue to spread the gospel where ever he went.  Knowing that his time on earth was short, he sought to win the race by telling as many people about the gospel as he could.  He also made sure that those whom he had taught would understand the urgency and do the same.

What is the urgency for you of sharing the Gospel?  Has God touched your life in any Acts 20.24way?  If He has, you can tell your story to others, just like Paul did.  We have the benefit of knowing that in our country right now, we need not fear for our lives if we share our faith with someone. But not everyone can say that. Did you know that persecution of Christians is rampant in many places around the globe?  Africa is an example of a place where many Christians are in danger of losing their lives because of their faith.

But the OTHER truth about the oppression of the Christian church in Africa is that it is the place in the world that is seeing the most rapid growth of the faith!  Christians in Africa have a great sense of urgency to spread the Gospel, knowing that they only have a limited time in which to share that faith. Like Paul, they want to make sure that they finish the race that is this life by sharing the love of Jesus with as many people as they can.

Acts 20.24So what’s our excuse? Shouldn’t we have the same sense of urgency about sharing our faith? No, we do not have the level of oppression against our faith that they do.  What we do have is the Gospel and the story of how God has blessed us and how He came into our lives and transformed them!  We need to go through life as Christians as if we’re in a hurry to finish the race.  Because we know that none of us knows how much time we have.  What we do know is that we have right now, so let’s work to finish the race.  Let’s be like Paul and have the sense of urgency to share the love of Christ with everyone we meet!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, so often we fail to realize the finite time that we have on this earth.  We fail to understand the urgency and importance of sharing your love with others by telling them our story of faith and how You have helped us in our lives.  Give us the desire to finish our race so that we can share eternity with You and as many others as possible. Amen. 

 

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