The Value of a Life
Acts 20:24 (ESV) – 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.
I have counseled many people over my years in ministry who struggle with self-worth. It is terrible to witness. Sometimes no matter what you say about God’s forgiveness and love, they can’t receive it. I counseled a gentleman once who constantly found things to condemn himself for, no matter how much gospel I responded with, it didn’t matter. I asked him once, “If Jesus doesn’t hold you guilty for that, but offers you forgiveness even though you were, how can you not live without guilt for it?” His answer was, “I just have to.”
This kind of struggle is real in many people. But there is an entirely different struggle others have, which is seeing their lives as so valuable that they only think about themselves. They think only about what they want to do.
The apostle Paul in our text today won’t let us do either. He says in Acts 20:24, “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.” Notice the two things present in the text: “my life is of no value” and “the ministry I received.”
The first emphasis is about how Paul recognizes that his life doesn’t exist for himself. He is not his own. He highlights that his life isn’t of any value or precious to himself. This is different from lacking value. It is a point about the purpose of our lives. If we live them for ourselves, we waste them. We cheapen them. They exist for the glory of God and that is where their value rests.
Paul also mentions that Jesus gave him a ministry to testify to the grace of God. This is a far cry from being worthless or having no value. His value is tied to who God says He is and living in line with what God created him to do. Paul doesn’t battle self-worth issues. He walks in the knowledge that his life belongs to Jesus and everything he does must magnify Him.
The same is true for you. Left to yourself, your value could be wasted.
A life that doesn’t seek to honor God and seek His will is one that doesn’t measure up to the fullness of why He created it. We are invited to give our life to enjoying and sharing the grace of God in Christ.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do people struggle with self-worth? What is the opposite problem people face?
- What does Paul say in this passage that helps us understand value and purpose?
- How does this text help you today to understand your own life and purpose?
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