Can We Speak as did Paul?

One of the exercises I’ve done with people as part of a workshop on Reconnecting with our Life Values is to ask them to write their obituary, using a simple form I give them. The form is a way of asking people to think hard about what their deepest desires are, what they hope to be in the world, what contributions they would like to be able to say, at the end of their lives, that they made for the life of the world.

I thought about the exercise in connection with today’s first reading, which is Paul’s farewell to the people in Ephesus, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. This is Paul, who was transformed into a persecutor of Christians into one of Christ’s great disciples.

As I read Paul’s words to the people of Ephesus I thought, if I can say this at the of my life, I will be content. “I served the Lord with all humility….I did not shrink from telling you waht was for your benefit….I earnestly bore witness…to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.”

As I again read Paul’s words, I pray that I have the courage and the faith that will enable me to say as he did that, “I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.”

If all of us who call ourselves Christians lived our lives in a manner that would allow us to honestly speak the words Paul did, imagine the effect that would have on the world.