“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” Acts 20.23
We live in an environment where achievement is highly valued: we are encouraged to set goals, review them and strive for higher things. However, this statement by Paul challenges such an attitude. He reveals that the Holy Spirit has shown him what his life will look like – prison and hardship. These are definitely not the sort of goals we would choose to set ourselves for the year ahead!
Paul goes on to reveal what he believes is the true nature of achievement; to persevere in the work that Christ has given him, whether or not he sees worldly success. We all value a small sense of achievement when our efforts bear fruit, but Paul assures us that in God’s eyes achievement is to hold fast to what we believe, despite what goes on around us.
There is a very encouraging saying that we are called to be faithful, not successful. So don’t be tempted to focus on your achievements, but instead look at your calling – what is it God has asked you to do? Then keep doing it well, regardless of whether or not other people see success.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission