August 19 An Extravagant Request

Scripture reading: Acts 20:16–24

Key verse: Acts 20:24

None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

The apostle Paul, formerly one of the most vehement enemies of the early Christian church, was so transformed by the grace of God that he was consumed with making sure others learned of His grace. Facing even death, Paul went to Jerusalem, though his best friends pleaded with him to stay away.

How many of us have so surrendered to Christ that we are ready to submit totally to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Sometimes we grapple even to recognize His gentle whisper. If only we could be as Paul, so sensitive to the Spirit of God that we would be driven by Him!

In his modern paraphrase of the New Testament, The Message, Eugene Peterson updates Paul’s language in his farewell to his friends:

I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I’m completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.

Paul wasn’t consumed with convicting people of their inevitable sin; he concentrated on grace: that incredibly extravagant generosity of God.

Thank You for Your generosity, dear God. Make me increasingly sensitive to Your Spirit.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 242). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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