However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; 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.
I was reflecting on the Apostle Paul’s life and trying to imagine how he might approach the troubles of our time.
Here he is nearing the end of life, choosing to go to Jerusalem. After angering the city leaders, he realizes that he is entering into a place where persecution, hardship, and ultimately death await him as he brings the gospel to them.
Yet with unfettered resolve, he marches onward unafraid of what could potentially happen to him. After he gave his life to God, he beats by a different drum and sees from a different perspective–a perspective from eternity.
For in that perspective, he recognizes that God is the judge of his life and the one that will carry him from this life to the next. It’s with that perspective that he fears not death for there is a hope that extends beyond his mortal life. And with it, he willingly sacrifices his life so others can experience this reality.
He lives with the luxury of never fearing death
For whether in life or death, his life is accounted for in God.
This hope frees him from any temptation to hoard or to preserve his life. He has embodied the saying that Jesus taught–that whoever should save his life would lose it, but whoever would lose it for my sake would find it.
In this time of trouble, I pray we remember the fire that burned within Paul.
I pray we remember the hope already given to followers of Jesus–the luxury of never fearing death. Even though the earth gives way, our hope and anchor is on a God who remains unmoved. And it is this God who calls us onward to still leave a lasting legacy before we die.
And we do so with the fearlessness our gospel offers.
Lord, help us to abandon vain attempts of saving our lives. Instead, put within us the passion to live out the values and missions of your kingdom, and whether in life or death, greet trouble with open arms. For you are the God who has overcome and so we march onward and take heart! Amen