Praying with Paul

This devotional is written by Jermaine Jarrett. Jermaine has been at St Marys for 12 (!) years now. He is married to Diana and they have two boys - Sebastian and Raphael.

Romans 15:14-33

Paul the Minister to the Gentiles 14 I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done-- 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. 21 Rather, as it is written:

"Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand."

22 This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.

Paul's Plan to Visit Rome 23 But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord's people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord's people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29 I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.

30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord's people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God's will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.


Reflection

We all need reminders from time to time, although we do not always receive them well; I know I don't. Paul notes right at the start of this letter that the church in Rome was renowned for its faithfulness, yet he has spent much of the time giving instructions that to the thin-skinned might read as criticism. It is easy to acknowledge that we all have 'sinned and fallen short' in a generic sense, but not as easy to accept when others point out our own specific failings. It is all too natural to question motive and take umbrage at a perceived implication that we are stupid / biased / prejudiced because we cannot see for ourselves. But a reminder isn't for those who don't know, it's for those who do; the reason Paul could write in this way was precisely because he was convince' that they were faithful, mature and humble enough to listen. They would understand that the message was the 'gospel of God', and his only motivation was the mandate he was given. And they would see that the exhortations and reminders found throughout the letter - to maintain unity and love, to share with those in need, to live peaceably with all, to seek to understand and accommodate cultural differences - were central to that mission of producing an 'offering acceptable to God'. That is our mandate too. For we are not meant to be passive takers of the gospel, but rather to proclaim it in the way we live; The behaviours we embody should feed into our everyday interactions, testifying of the goodness of God, his power to transform lives, his desire to reconcile all people to him. Pray for the maturity and humility to receive, as well as give, such reminders with a loving spirit, ensuring that our motive is always only to glorify our God.

No Comments


Recent

Archive

 2021

Categories