I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)
Every Christian is called to influence the world around them, as Jesus said: “Let your light shine before others” (Matt. 5:16). Paul was easily the most influential Christian in history, and in his interaction with the Ephesian elders here in Acts 20, we can see a few reasons why.
1. True Influencers Are Selflessly Humble. As Paul reminded the Ephesians, he was “serving the Lord with all humility” (20:19). He said, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself,” and he said his only goal was this: “to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (20:24). Many people have goals that are a little different. They seek to build their own influence and power, or simply to make a name for themselves.
2. True Influencers Are Passionately Committed to Others. Paul said: “I’ve been serving the Lord with all humility and with tears” (20:19). Paul was as tough a guy as you’ll ever meet. He was whipped five times with 39 lashes, beaten with rods three times, shipwrecked three times, and spent a night and a day floating by himself in the ocean, and it doesn’t look like any of that made him shed a single tear. But when it came to the people he was ministering to, the spigot was open. All the time. That’s because he was passionately committed to them and their relationship with God, saying, “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation” (2 Cor. 1:6).
3. True Influencers are Hard Workers. As Paul said: “Night and day for three years I never stopped warning each one of you” (20:31). Influencers understand they will need to repeatedly give up their precious “me-time” for the sake of the kingdom. Through Paul’s labor, amazingly, “all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (19:10). Dozens of churches were planted across Asia Minor during this time, and some of them even kept their doors open until the twentieth century!
Today’s social-media influencers might persuade you to visit a trendy place or buy a certain product, but true influencers change the world.