“And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there—save that the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But, none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the Grace of God.”

Acts 20:22-24

Like Jesus, He was a “Man on a Mission,” who knew for what reason he’d been called, while also knowing the urgency of the time and the eternal destiny of lost souls.

Even now, if we close our eyes and try to picture the context of today’s Manna, we can see this moving meeting between Paul and the saints there in Miletus, which was located some 37 miles south of Ephesus on the southwestern shore of what is now modern-day Turkey.

This former persecutor of the Church, who was now the most sought-after, persecuted member of the Church, knew what awaited him in Jerusalem.  Yet, like Jesus, he was both “led by the Spirit” (Mt. 4:1) and “bound by the Spirit”—i.e., under His control—and that’s why he didn’t “count his life dear unto himself,” even though he knew “bonds and afflictions surely awaited him.”

Why and how could he do this, Pilgrim?

Simply because serving Christ, the Risen Lord, and following the Spirit’s leading was more important to him than anything else in life.  Even though his “Magnificent Obsession” in life had been studying the Law and “defending the faith” prior to his life-changing encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9), he now counted all of that “as dung (garbage, refuse) of the excellency of knowing Christ” (Phil. 3:8-10).

And, shouldn’t that also be the case in our lives?

Most assuredly it should be.

That’s why we, like Paul, should never be content or complacent in our walk of faith—especially as we realize how prone we are to live in the flesh instead of the Spirit (Rom. 7:7-24).  Likewise, even though we have multiple responsibilities in life. . .things to do. . .places to go, etc., none of these should take precedence over Christ and His Kingdom work in our lives (Mt. 6:33).

You may not be called to become a missionary overseas or even a preacher or teacher of the Word in your home church.

But, you are called to be an “ambassador for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20), who’s been given “the Ministry and Word of Reconciliation, telling a lost-and-dying world that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself by making Jesus—Who knew no sin—to become sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (vv.18-21).

So, now that you know these things, Pilgrim, what will you do with them?

Will you continue living your life as before?  Or, will you pray even now, “O, Lord, Jesus, take my life and use it as you see fit, for Your Glory.  I’m your willing ‘bond-slave,’ totally surrendered to You.  Help me today to be a ‘living sacrifice’ so others will know You”?

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated August 3, 2010

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