22 “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:22–24)
Paul was speaking to the Ephesian church elders and charged them to take on the full measure of leadership of the congregation. In yesterday’s passage (Acts 20:17-21), he referred to himself as a worthy example, having selflessly served the Lord as a bond slave.
What is a legacy? Some assign it the meaning of a financial inheritance. A legacy is what the deceased left in his/her will and bequeathed to those who are living relatives and friends.
However, a legacy is more than money. It is a heritage. It is what an individual is known for and for what he/she will be remembered. What accomplishments did they achieve? What was their character? What was their reputation?
What was the Apostle Paul’s legacy? He states what it was in today’s text. It was the foremost characteristic for which he wished to be known. Paul’s legacy was “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Paul shared with the Ephesian church elders that he was going to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit was compelling him, even though he did not know exactly what would happen upon his arrival. However, Paul did know that imprisonment and afflictions were waiting for him.
But it did not matter to Paul. He said, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus.” What was the course and the ministry for which Paul sought to finish? It was “to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul wished to not only leave, but to live to the fullest, the legacy the Lord gave him.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Nevertheless, even the gloomy prospect of imprisonment and abuse cannot sway him (Paul) from obedience. In fact, he is ready to suffer much more if God so commands, even the loss of his life. His only goal is to know the joy of being a faithful bondservant, a trusty slave of Christ, to the end of his days. He wants to carry out the mission given to him by Christ: to be a witness to the Gospel of grace (Acts 9:15).”
What is the legacy you are leaving behind to your family, friends and acquaintances? What will they remember about you? What will you be known for after you have died and gone home to be with the Lord? May each of us mirror the words of the apostle in being a witness to the gospel of the grace of God. This is not only a legacy to leave, but to live.
Soli deo Gloria!