Goodbye (Acts 20)

In 2001, Night Ranger sang about being on a beach and then erupted with the chorus, “I was never much good at goodbye. Goodbye.” (Thank you Jack Blades.) (By the way, nice rocker name, Jack Blades.)

A few years before that Paul stood on a beach and sang to the Ephesian elders, “I will never see your face again. And I am innocent of the blood of all men. Goodbye.” (By the way, not a great rocker name, Paul. But it is better than Saul.)

In today’s reading (Acts 20) we get to eavesdrop on this really personal parting between Paul and his friends in Ephesus that has weeping and hugging and it’s all a little embarrassing and feels like a chick flick. So let’s just jump to the best part… Paul talks about how he doesn’t want to leave Ephesus, and he definitely doesn’t want to go to Jerusalem (where he is going) because in the best of towns he faces prison and persecution, but Jerusalem will be even worse. So why leave? And why go there? Because, in Paul’s words: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Want a telling exercise? Finish this sentence: “I will consider my life to have been worth nothing, unless I _______________________________.” Maybe the scariest thing would be if you have no idea what fills in that blank. Something has to go in that blank! And that something is what you’re living for. So what is it for you? Should it be the same as Paul’s? And whatever it is, what does it compel you to do? It might be something, like Paul’s, that you totally don’t want to do, but you’ve just got to. So what is it for you?