"And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me." (Acts 20:22-23)
Most would say that Paul is insane for going ahead with this plan of travelling to Jerusalem. After all, who in their right mind would willingly go somewhere that they are guaranteed problems? Surely Paul is going to back out and stay where it is safe! But wait, Paul is not finished, he continues in verse 24:
"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
When I first read that I was amazed at Paul's endurance, faithfulness, boldness, and steadfastness. He was not willing to allow persecution to stop him from taking the message of God's amazing grace to the lost. He did not consider safety of his physical body to be more important than the salvation of lost souls who were on their way to hell. He knew his life was short and he wanted to finish strong for God, not wavering or wimping out. Unreservedly he gave his all to the One who had given His all on Calvary.
Sadly, I am afraid that out of a simple fear of people we fail to remember that we have been called to a ministry of telling others about Christ's gracious and free gift. Often the thought of going to someone we do not know (and especially those we do know) terrifies us. We are afraid of what they will think, or how they will react. We want to be on their good side, and we definitely do NOT want them to think we are some sort of religious freak.
But Paul, KNEW he was going to be persecuted much more than we will ever be in America, and still he went, counting his life as nothing in comparison to the spiritual darkness of the lives of those to whom he was to minister. How much better it would be if we would truly count the cost of serving Christ, taking out the stops, and going full blast for Him.