"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV)
In this passage, Paul uses three parallel phrases in order to remind Timothy the foundations of Christian service. In these three phrases, Paul does not mention his own ability, the fruitfulness of his service, or even how he selected ministry partners. All he says is "I have" three times to express his faithful devotion regarding his ministry work to Jesus. Paul firmly believed that as a result of "a life of faithful and devoted work to Jesus" he would be rewarded in heaven. This is probably why he uses this particular phrase in his last teaching to his beloved student and son Timothy.
I have been a pastor for over six years. Never had I dreamt of using my writing skills to serve God. The main reason being simply, I am not a good writer. Whenever I hear that brothers and sisters are inspired by these written devotionals, it is I who feels that I profit from the hard work of others. In fact, I do not do much. From my notes to what you read, there are people who proof-read, type, edit, print, etc. All I do is put down on paper what God has impressed upon my heart. Relatively speaking, I don't do much work.
I feel that I have to show appreciation to others. But then I ask myself "Am I being humble?" After thinking it over, I actually found that this was a rather silly thought. Think about it, everything is from God - spiritual gifts, talents, time, opportunities, ministry partners, the fruit of ministry - these are all entirely by the grace of God. I have absolutely nothing to boast about. As Paul reminds us, the foundation of Christian service is to remain faithful and devoted to Jesus wherever He calls us to.
"How silly I am to have spent over six years before finally understanding this ..."
Rev. Kelvin Li
June 25, 2008