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
Ah, the Olympics. I admit, I love them. When I’m not trying to remember the rules for curling and hockey, I am amazed at the things the athletes are able to do. All of them bring strength, endurance, agility, and gravity-defying courage to their respective events. Snowboarding is insane. Mogul skiing makes my knees hurt. Ski jumpers leave the ramp faster than I drive most days. Cross-country sprinting is exhausting. Figure skating makes me nervous. (Years ago, I watched a guy drop a girl on her face. That’s always in the back of my mind.)
But there’s something about seeing someone who has dedicated their lives to their sport finally reach their goal. I’ve heard stories of adversity and injury and doubt met with determination and discipline. It’s hard to imagine the joy and the sense of victory and fulfillment the athletes experience. No question, the medal is absolutely worth it.
Determination and discipline. If you’ve ever dieted, or taken a class, or tried to budget, you have a sense of just how difficult determination and disciple can be to maintain. Some of the Olympians have managed that since they were elementary school age. That should be worth a medal in itself.
In Acts 20, Paul is bidding farewell to some dear friends and ministry partners in Ephesus before he departs for Jerusalem. He knows that once he arrives in Jerusalem, he will be arrested and maybe put to death. He says, “None of these things move me.” He is determined to finish his race with joy and fulfill the ministry given to him, which is to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
If you think about it, we have been given the same ministry. Jesus has commissioned us all to tell the gospel story and how God’s grace changed us and can change the hearers as well. Most of the time, we approach that mandate with indifference and apathy.
Maybe we don’t think it applies to us.
Maybe we think it’s not worth the effort.
Maybe we’re resigned to failure before we begin.
The world needs the gospel. The world needs the transforming power and grace of God. People you know need it. Be determined and disciplined. Finish your race with joy.