Leave it all on the field

Today’s blog post is adapted from the December 14th, 2021 post.
 
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:25-27)

In sports, there is an expression “leave it all on the field” that encourages athletes to give such a strong effort that they will have no regrets when they look back at how they played. In Acts 20, Paul displays the spiritual version of “leave it all on the field” as he meets with the leaders of the Ephesian church before he leaves for Jerusalem.

In his farewell address, Paul reminds the Ephesian elders about how he served God and the people of Ephesus with humility and tears, teaching them everything they might need to know, most notably the call to repentance and faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. He knows that more trouble and hardships are ahead, and that he will likely never see them again. He warns them to keep watch over the church in Ephesus, as false teachers will try to infiltrate their church and lead them astray. By the end of his meeting with them, Paul and the elders are in tears as they embrace each other and say goodbye.

In the middle of his speech to them, he speaks these bold words: “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God” (Acts 20:26-27). Paul may have to leave Ephesus, but he evidently is doing so with no regrets, as he proclaims that he has shared the whole will of God with them.

It is hard to live life with no regrets, particularly in the area of sharing our faith with those we love or who we see regularly at work, school, or in our neighborhood. We can not change our past failures, but we can resolve that from this point forward, we will try to follow Paul’s example as the Spirit of God empowers us, to “leave it all on the field” with those we love, so that one day we can look back and declare along with Paul that we did not hesitate to proclaim the whole will of God. Lord, give us the courage and the love for others that will enable us to follow through on this resolution.

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