"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."
Thoughts for Today:In the fifties one of the most popular magazines in the United States was LIFE. In the sixties it was PEOPLE; in the seventies, the magazine called US; and in the eighties it was SELF. Enter the internet age and the nineties and it is no longer a magazine. We graduated first to AOL which is both a news and information service, as well as a means of communication with others ("you've got mail"). In recent years MY SPACE ("a place for friends") and YOU TUBE ("broadcast yourself") topped the charts in terms of popularity, especially among young people. Then came FACEBOOK which, after only two years, had tens of millions of subscribers and was worth more than a billion dollars. And what, you might ask, does FACEBOOK sell that makes their product so valuable? As the company states: "A social utility that connects you with the people around you."
I for one have difficulty reconciling Paul's statement, "I consider my life worth nothing to me" with the last fifty years of so-called progress. It would seem that in our current times our lives have become so valuable to us that we have created multi-billion dollar businesses around making us seem more significant to each other. In an effort to promote ourselves above the rest of the crowd, we've lost the grace and honor of self-sacrifice. Paul wasn't concerned with his own identity, popularity or what others thought of him. There was only one race Paul wanted to win -- the task of completing what the Lord had given him to do.
Questions to Ponder:Businesses don't define how we are to think, they only reflect our interests. What are yours? Multi-billion dollar companies have been built because they have provided the opportunity for us to promote narcissism. Let me be clear -- there's nothing wrong with using the Internet to communicate with friends and family, or using social networking to connect with one another. That's not the point here. What often happens is that we go far beyond the goal of merely connecting and begin to brag about ourselves or promote how great we are, and that's where the contrast happens between our culture and what Paul modeled for us. Be honest: where is your focus: on the task the Lord has given you to do, or on what others may think of you? What reward do you seek, a heavenly one or will the world's be enough? What needs to change?