From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. When they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me.
But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
I had a friend who would lambast sports announcers for saying, “the athletes gave it 110% today.” My friend’s argument: giving 110% is impossible. There’s only 100% to give, and not even that if we need something tomorrow.
Yet, in today’s first reading Paul is ready to give everything for the ministry he’s been given, to the point of tears, trials, and imprisonment. So deep is his conviction that he considers life of no importance so long as he finishes his work. Sounds like 100% to me.
It’s a scary thing, to leave it all out on the field, to imagine giving everything in service to one another and to God. Yet, as Jesus reminds us – God gave us glory so we may give glory back. God gave everything to us so we can give in return – at least enough to exhaust ourselves today and rise again with joy.
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
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