Making a difference
And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. Acts 20:22-24
Not only has Paul lived, served, preached and declared faithfully, but he will finish the race (see 2 Timothy 4:16-18). From the text, he emphasized the inner witness of the Spirit which drives him to Jerusalem (20:22) and now adds that the same Spirit who took him to that city has warned him that he will face prison and hardships everywhere. Would these difficulties eventually take his life? Apparently the Spirit has given no firm witness on that, but Paul left no question that he was quite prepared to pay that price. This attitude characterized Paul’s ministry throughout his Christian life (see 2 Corinthians 4:7–5:10; Philippians 1:19–26; Colossians 1:24). Along the way, he had a singular goal, a central mission in all that he did—to testify to the gospel of God’s grace. With the number of people in this world, we get intimidated that leads to feeling of insignificance as to what we can contribute to make this world better. With so many people, most of whom seem so much more capable, more gifted, more prosperous, more important than I, who am I to think my part amounts to something? For Paul, he knew that God had purposed for his life something that he should do. This was why he sought to follow God in all he does. The Bible is replete with examples where individual involvement was underscored. The Good Samaritan was the only one who stopped to help the victim who got robbed at the road in Jericho. In the Old Testament, many centuries ago a woman almost did. Her name was Esther. She thought things were too far gone. And she certainly didn't think there was anything she could do. It was only a matter of time before all the Jews would be exterminated. She did not make any excuses and got personally involved to the point of great sacrifice as she said "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Esther, The Good Samaritan, and Paul’s life of obedience to God are examples that we need to emulate for God called us to make a difference in the life of others. We are to be willing to stand in the gap, to sacrifice putting aside all excuses and ask ourselves, "What should I be doing?" Yes, you alone can make a difference. The question is, will you listen and follow God? If you will not do your part, who will?
Noel De Guzman