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. Acts 20:24
As I enter the final few minutes of my forty-minute workout, I can almost guarantee that my instructor will yell out, “Finish strong!” Every personal trainer or group fitness leader I’ve known uses the phrase a few minutes before cool down. They know that the end of the workout is just as important as showing up for it. And they know that the human body has a tendency to want to slow down or slack off when it’s been in motion for a while.
The same is true in our journey with Jesus. Paul told the elders of the church at Ephesus that he needed to finish strong as he headed to Jerusalem, where he was certain to face more persecution as an apostle of Christ (Acts 20:17–24). Paul, however, was undeterred. He had a mission and that was to finish the journey he’d begun and to do what God called him to do. He had one job—to tell “the good news of God’s grace” (v. 24). And he wanted to finish strong. Even if hardship awaited him (v. 23), he continued to run toward his finish line—focused and determined to remain steadfast in his journey.
Whether we’re exercising our physical muscles or working out our God-given abilities through actions, words, and deeds, we too can be encouraged by the reminder to finish strong. Don’t “become weary” (Galatians 6:9). Don’t give up. God will provide what you need to finish strong.
By Katara Patton
REFLECT & PRAY
What do you do when you get tired and feel like giving up? What’s the benefit of finishing strong?
Help me keep going on this journey, Father. I want to finish strong so You get the glory for my life and journey.
Paul tells the leaders of the Ephesian church that he never hesitated to preach anything that would be “helpful” (Acts 20:20). This word is a translation of the Greek root word sympherō, which here means “to be for the better of, to confer benefit, or be profitable.” Darrell Bock, in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Acts, describes this beneficial message as “the same to Jews and Greeks: repentance to God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:9–10; 1 Corinthians 9:20–23; 10:32–33). This combination (repentance and faith) is an excellent summary of Paul’s mission. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin.” For Paul, what’s profitable is a life dedicated to faith and growth in God. This is the message he preached and that he gave to others to preach.
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