“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
The Apostle Paul was determined to walk worthy of the calling of God. With this singleness of mind he zealously testified to all of “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” He refused to be detoured from his holy work by the evil activities of men. Even when the Holy Spirit witnessed that bonds and afflictions awaited him, he never wavered on his journey. Many of his brethren could not understand why he was so persistent, and many encouraged him to change his course to avoid the hardships. Paul, however, said, “…none of things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself.” If his holy ministry was worth anything at all, it was sure worth everything even if it cost him his life. Paul understood the gravity of his high calling; come what may, he could not but serve his received ministry to the completion of its course.
Paul knew if he had allowed others to sway him away from the ministry he had received of the Lord Jesus, that the blessed joy of obedience would be lost in the guilt of failure. He lived in the joy of salvation, the joy of his calling, the joy of faithfulness, and he was determined to finish his course with joy. The ministry to which he was called was “to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” He was not hired for a “job”; he received a “ministry” from Jesus Christ to give testimony of the grace of God. This is not like anything else upon the face of the earth. That is why the Scriptures do not speak of churches hiring a pastor; rather they reveal that a pastor is a gift to the church. Come what may, the pastor does not count his life as anything so that he might finish his course with joy and the ministry that he received from the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is also written: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) There is a greater joy far beyond common comprehension. Let the gates of hell rattle; it will only make for sweeter joy!—By Dr.M.J. Seymour, Sr.