9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Paul communicates a passionate commitment. He knows that God, who sees everything, can see his heart. His heart, or spirit, is dedicated to the good news that he shares. When he shares that good news in the book of Acts, it is often in the form of a narrative. The whole narrative is God’s story, but the Old Testament points to the cross of Jesus and His resurrection. In the resurrection life of Jesus, we all have opportunity for a new beginning. When we have begun to live the life of Christ we have a different perspective and calling that continues through eternity. This new, eternal life is good news and Paul wants to share it.
God’s timing is not the same as Paul’s though. He will go to Rome, we know that from history. However, at the time of writing this letter he has not been there. The gospel shows no partiality. Jews, Greeks and barbarians can all come to God through Christ. When the Romans hear more of the gospel, they will receive a gift and Paul will reap a harvest. Perhaps the gift is a gift that Paul will bestow upon them as a spiritual leader, such as an increased gift of prophecy. Perhaps the harvest he will receive is a financial harvest which he will be ale to take with him to those struggling financially elsewhere. I think it is the gift of the gospel that Paul will take. Since he is writing to a church, most of them will have been reconciled to God through Jesus, but they might not know the pervasive nature of the new life which they have received. In this way Paul would receive the reward of seeing their growth and increased service to God.
Do you have an eager passion for the gospel? Is your heart or spirit fully focused on God’s desire that people live life daily aligned with him? I know that I am often self-focused. My stomach isn’t feeling great today and now my mind tends to be drawn back to my stomach. I have a lot of grading and publicity for our book to take care of. I don’t always see them as opportunities to live a gospel life as a witness to others. Today, though, as I am about to go over to Moody Radio and I will come back to a pile of grading, I will think of my responsibilities as opportunities. Rather than focus on my performance or my own tasks, I will prayerfully lift up those I will reach through my words on air and the red pen I write on their papers.
Dear God, I am now eager for those who know you to grow in you. I pray for those in Chicago as they go about their day today. I pray for those in Plymouth, England, the city of my birth. May we share the good news of the new life you offer. May those who don’t know you begin the adventure. May those who do know you find encouragement and strength for the road ahead.
- What does Paul claim that God witnesses?
- Which words communicate Paul’s passion?
- Does commitment have to be passionate?
- How can you develop more passion in your commitments?
- Who do you know who needs to experience more of the gospel of Jesus Christ?