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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 85: Acts 26:12-32 & Prov. 27:17-22 - What Should Be the Goal of Ministry?

Today's Reading: Acts 26:12-32 & Prov. 27:17-22

And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” - Acts 26:28-29, ESV

What Should Be the Goal of Ministry? 

The Apostle Paul is an admirable and exemplary Christian for many reasons, but perhaps the greatest is his consistent focus in ministry. It it so easy for any Christian to lose sight of what our main goals should be in life and in ministry. Those who have been engaged in full-time ministry work for years often lose sight of what the core purpose and main goal of ministry should be and instead get focused on ego, personal kingdom-building, church vs. church competition, etc.

The Apostle Paul maintains his focus on the main purpose for ministry throughout times of great success, like his extended stays in Ephesus and Antioch, and through times of intense persecution and difficulty. In today's passage, we see that he has kept his focus clear despite being unjustly imprisoned for a couple of years.

Standing before Agrippa, Bernice and Festus, Paul speaks with respect and conviction. He faithfully tells the story of his conversion encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He then tells of his faithful and obedient response to Christ's commission: "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God" (vv. 19-20)

Festus cannot believe Paul's account of his conversion and his ministry. This calculating politician thinks Paul is insane, but Paul brushes off Festus' objection and presses the message of the Gospel home to Agrippa: “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.”  (vv. 25-27)

So, what do we learn from Paul? What is the right focus for us to have and keep in life and ministry? Our calling is to glorify God by testifying to the truth about Jesus Christ in order that people may come to salvation in Him. May the Lord empower us by His Spirit to have and keep that focus, always.

Heavenly Father, we are made to glorify You. You have given us the Gospel of Your Son, which brings glory to You and salvation to all who believe. Give us the ability, by Your Holy Spirit, to faithfully glorify You by telling the truth about Jesus for the salvation of the lost. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Prayer Based on Proverbs 27:17-22:

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.
Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
    and he who guards his master will be honored.
As in water face reflects face,
    so the heart of man reflects the man.
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
    and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and a man is tested by his praise.
Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle
    along with crushed grain,
    yet his folly will not depart from him.

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