I want to continue my reflection on Apostle Paul — he was clearly heavenbound in his thinking and actions. That is why he could say in Acts 20:24 – 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
How many of us could say, I agree with Paul? My life is worth nothing to me. We can’t even get to the second part of the verse about finishing the race and completing the task because we feel like our lives here and now are worth too much. Yeah, if you come from a broken home and you dropped out of high school and you are in a dead end job and you have no marriage prospects, then society will tell you that your life is worth nothing and you may even believe it. But for many of us, don’t we place a lot of hope in this life because we have so much going for ourselves and we are so busy with various cares and concerns?
God reminded me as I was preparing for this message that everything in life will pass away. Our physical bodies and with that all of our talents and hopes and dreams. Our degrees. Our houses. Our cars. Everything passes away. That is why God invites us to invest in eternal things, not on earthly treasures, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
It is not surprising that Jesus said very similar things. In fact, the first thing that Jesus said to his disciples as he was gathering them for the first time was Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. And these fishermen literally threw down their fishing nets which was their entire livelihood, it’s all they knew in terms of this life. Instead of investing in stinky fish that tomorrow will rot, they became fishers of men who invest in eternal souls.
In the same vein, the last charge that Jesus gave to his disciples before he left them was to Go and make disciples of all nations. The first is an invitation, the second a command but both contain the same message — invest your life in loving people.
Paul was fixed on Jesus, to live is Christ, and he was fixed on a heavenly prize and so for him, to die is gain (Phil 1:21). And by Paul fixing his eyes on Jesus and a heavenly prize, he subsequently had his eyes fixed, not on himself and his own needs, but on people.