The importance of our mission.
Read Acts 20:17-27
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself so that I may finish my course and ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
What is the most important thing you do in your life? When you look at your life and your “to-do” list, what is placed on top, and why is it there? We all have things we deem necessary in our life, those tasks and responsibilities that we consider so important that everything else becomes secondary. For some, it is the pursuit of a career. For others, it is the attainment of personal goals. Some people prioritize their family, while others may view a specific hobby or pursuit as the most important thing on their list of priorities.
For Paul, the most important thing was the proclamation of the gospel. So important was this that he even made life itself secondary to this pursuit. This was no hyperbole. In his ministry, Paul continually faced the threat of death, and that threat was real. Paul would spend time in prison under a death sentence and would eventually give his life for the ministry of the gospel. Thus, his statement was not a figurative expression revealing the priority of the gospel; it was an affirmation of the extent he would go (and did go) in sacrificing for the importance of the gospel.
The reason Paul was willing to sacrifice his life for the gospel stemmed from two fundamental reasons. First, it stemmed from the fact that the message of repentance and faith in Christ was the key to eternal life. There is salvation in no other person or religion. It was the hope of both the Jews and the Greeks. The reason proclaiming the gospel is so important is because it is a life and death question. Where people will spend eternity is at stake.
Second, Paul understood the importance of his message in the context of the responsibility he had to share the gospel with people. The failure to communicate brought the guilt of their blood upon him. In these words, Paul echoes the responsibility of a watchman recorded in Ezekiel 3:16-21, that we are called to warn the wicked of their sin, and if we fail to do so, we will be held responsible. A warning that should arrest our attention and one that points to the importance and necessity of proclaiming the gospel. To be indifferent to the spiritual condition of people ultimately is to be unloving towards them.
However, sharing the gospel is not always easy, and it can be costly. Paul affirmed that it caused him inward anxiety and anguish (Acts 20:19), as well as outward persecution and trials (vs. 23). But in the end, it was worth it, for not only was he faithful in his task, but he left in his wake a growing a vibrant church. In your prayers, ask God to give you and heart and passion for the lost and help you make reaching people a priority in your life. Then ask him to provide you with opportunities to share your faith with others.