What is your life worth to you?
Every person desires to have value, worth, purpose, etc. I think we can agree that all people are born with intrinsic value (even if we may not live like everyone has value, if you know what I mean). There is a longing in everyone's heart to be counted worthy and not disregarded, yet what if you were told that your life was worth nothing? Not that you mean nothing, but that what you are placing your worth in means absolutely nothing? Your job is not your life, your money is not your life, your stuff is not your life; none of those things bring worth to your life.
Paul in the Bible understood this so well. Now that I have got you all confused and probably upset with me because I have told you that you have misplaced priorities and desires, I want us to look at Acts 20:24, "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." Paul is writing this in the context of leaving behind beloved brothers and sisters at the church in Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem where he knows that he will probably die. He is writing this knowing that he has been faithful to what God has called him to and now he must finish the race and complete the task.
Paul is able to count his life as nothing of value to him lest he share the gospel, can you do this? I think there are many times when I could not say this with a clean conscience. Do you count your life as nothing of value to yourself lest you finish the race and complete the task of sharing the gospel with the world? My heart is convicted as I read this passage, that I would be able to say, just as Paul, that I consider my life worth nothing to me because my only aim is to finish the race and testify of the good news of God's grace! It was once asked, what is the highest and chief end of man and the answer was to glorify God and fully delight in him. Paul understood this, that the chief purpose of his life is to proclaim the gospel and love people as Jesus did.
Jesus says that if one is not willing to leave brother and sister, father and mother, wealth and home, then he is not worthy to follow him. Jesus does not want a quarter of you or even half of you, he wants your whole heart! So I ask you, what is your life worth to you? Is worth giving away for the sake of the gospel and saying yes Lord I will testify to the good news of your grace or are you content with what this world has given you? Paul states, "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God." This is the proclamation of a life time, Paul is able to say he could stand before God knowing he has given his life for the gospel.
Jesus told him to go home.
As I was titling this post, I immediately thought of the movie, "The Incredibles". In the beginning of the film, there is a boy that really wants to help Mr. Incredible do his job, yet he simply keeps getting in the way. This boy is relentless and Mr. Incredible continues to tell him, "Go home buddy, I work alone." If you've seen this film, you know that this begins the whole entire plot of the movie; that boy's life is forever changed after that final rejection when Mr. Incredible tells him to go home because he works alone.
In Mark chapter 5, we see a similar line in verse 19 where Jesus tells a man that he has just healed from demon possession to go home. Although, this "go home" is radically different the the "go home" that Mr. Incredible tells to buddy, and praise God that it is. The story in Mark 5 is about a man who has a legion of demons inside him. This man is unable to be bound by any chains, shackles, or irons. It is said that this man lived in the tombs and the hills and would cut himself with stones, he was afflicted and isolated. When Jesus approaches this man, the demons know who Jesus is and are terrified so much so that they ask to be put into the herd of pigs. Then, Jesus casts the demons into the pigs, they run off the cliff into the water and drown. Everyone who sees this event is afraid and ask Jesus to leave. This is basically the plot-line yet at the very end, the man whom Jesus had healed begs Jesus to let him go with them but Jesus turns and says "go home". Thanks goodness this is not all he says to the man.
There are so many things that we could dialogue about in this passage like: Jesus power over demons, the demons fearing Jesus, Jesus power scaring a village, etc. Yet, I want us to notice this, after the man begs Jesus to let him go with them, in Mark 5:19 the Bible says, "Jesus did not let him, but said, 'Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you'." This is incredible, see, the whole village is satisfied because Jesus left but he has just left that village with a man that has been transformed by the power of God. It says that as the man began to tell people in the Decapolis, the people were amazed! The testimony of God's power told by a healed man was able to amaze all the people. Jesus' "go home" is very different than Mr.Incredible's because he never leaves us empty-handed, rather he sends us instead of leaves us, and sends us with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus sends this man to tell all the people what great things God has done for him and the mercy God has had on him. Jesus does not work alone, rather he calls you and I to share what great things God has done for us and what great mercy God has had on us. Being saved from sin and healed by Jesus means being sent out to proclaim the mighty deeds of God. Being saved from sin and healed by Jesus means proclaims the good news of God's great grace. Paul says in Acts 20:24, "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." The man who had been healed by Jesus was commissioned to do one thing, the same thing that you and I are commissioned to do, to tell everyone what great things God has done for you and what great mercy God has had one you. I am so thankful that Jesus does not simply tell us "go home" because he does not want us, but he says "go home to your own people" because we are sent with a mission to share what Jesus has done in our lives. "Taste and see that the Lord is good;" (Psalm 34:8a).
Just a guy trying to share the gospel and love people well. (B.A. Asbury University;