What a difference a few years makes. A few years ago, I was on my way to college right out of high school, bright-eyed and idealistic about what I could do with my life. I had so much that I wanted to achieve and do that I couldn’t believe I would be able to pack it all in to four years. I may have never said it out loud, but I knew the world was going to notice me and I was going to make a difference.
As college went on, although I did well the crushing realization began to hit that all that I thought I was going to achieve might not happen. Idealism came to bat with reality and it looked like reality won. Before I knew it, I was putting on my cap and gown at graduation wondering where all those goals and dreams had gone. And, in my darker moments, wondering why my life mattered at all.
A funny thing began to happen though, God showed up. He began to teach me that I had been looking at this thing all wrong to begin with. My life, my achievements, my goals…those things don’t matter. And, strangely enough, that’s the point.
In our Community Bible Reading this morning we came to Acts 20 and Paul is giving his final speech to the Ephesian elders, the individuals he had taught and mentored with tears for nearly two years. He tells the that he is going to face affliction and trials, maybe even the loss of his life. However, that doesn’t bother him one bit. He says, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
Paul realized something that God has been teaching me over and over again this past year. My life is not my own. It doesn’t belong to me. I don’t have claim on it because it was bought with the blood of Christ. So, in one sense, my life doesn’t matter. But, in another real sense it matters infinitely. When you realize that your life is not your own you begin to wrestle with the greater calling to testify to the good news of God’s grace. As a Christian your job, the reason you are still here on this earth, is to tell the world that God has come to save us.
The world may never know your name. You may not make speeches to thousands or become the next best thing. You may never achieve all you set out to. But, your life will have infinite value because you get to be a part of the divine mission of God to save lost people. When you begin to see your life isn’t yours…then it really starts to matter.