However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
Years ago, I spent a bundle of money on some pens (and a very special surprise gift) that all turned out to be worthless. As painful as that experience was, I did not learn from it because I did the same things again a couple of years later. It took a double does of pain for me to learn that lesson.
You are very precious to God. And you will spend your precious earthly existence on living a life of some kind. The only question is on what kind of life are you going to spend your precious earthly existence?
Most of us think of ourselves as builders who are building a life for ourselves. We go to school to get an education or a trade so we can have a career which will support ourselves, and our family if we have one. We also have hobbies and family gatherings, seasonal celebrations and vacations and we tend to think that all these events and activities comprise our life. But how much value does the life we build really have?
Before the apostle Paul became a follower of Jesus, he went by the name Saul and he summed up his pre-Jesus life this way: he was “…circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless” (Philippians 3:5-6).
Then Saul had an encounter with the risen Jesus (see Acts 9 & 22) and he realized that the life that he had been trying to build for himself was completely and totally worthless. For Jesus had given Himself to Saul, and in Jesus, Saul/Paul had a new life that was so radically different from the old that it was altogether different kind of life, and his old life was worthless by comparison. Even his physical existence was no concern to Paul because his new life from Jesus would continue forward forever through time and death into rest in heaven and then resurrection life in the new heaven and earth.
Paul’s life was worth nothing to him because he had died to himself and he knew that Jesus was living his life through him. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Church in Galatia, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Imagine living your life where you do all your normal life things, but you don’t worry about what will happen to you at all because you know that in Jesus you have a new and different kind of life which is far more valuable than your “normal” life. Your new life is your real life and one day everyone will see how beautiful and precious it is. But in the meantime, you rest in Jesus and He lives His life through you. Even though it is hidden, nothing can take your precious new life away from you.
You can know with certainty that new life from Jesus is yours because it was given to you as a totally free gift in your Baptism.
Dear Jesus, please help me to release my grip on my “normal” life and live the new life that You give me. Please come and live Your life through me. Amen.