THE FULL MEASURE
Lord, today lift from my heart the discouragement, cynicism, and distrust of others that destroy my faith in people.
Read Romans 15:23–33
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTo what extent are you involved either in mission or in supporting others who are directly involved?
Paul’s pursuit of his apostleship to the Gentiles has been extraordinary in fruitfulness and clarity: to go to places among the nations where the church is absent, stay until a locally-led, healthy church is established, then move on to the next place. This clarity over strategy has taken Paul into all the provinces from Jerusalem through to Illyricum (on the Adriatic coast), and now Paul looks beyond Rome to Spain (vs 24,28).
One of his reasons for writing is to announce both his intention to visit and his purpose in coming. He plans to come in the full anointing of Christ’s blessing (v 29), to impart spiritual gifts to them (Romans 15:19) and to seek their help in taking the gospel to Spain (v 24). Paul has stressed his desire both to give and receive from the beginning of the letter (Romans 1:11,12), and here his passionate concern for their partnership in prayer is really marked (vs 30–32). Intercessory cover isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ for Paul, but an utterly essential preparing of the groundwork (Colossians 4:2–4).
But first – still holding Gentile and Jewish Christians together and emphasizing their mutual responsibility – Paul intends to ensure that the gift from the Gentile churches for the poor among the church in Jerusalem is safely delivered (vs 25–28).
Who might God be calling you to support as a mission partner in prayer as Paul asks those in Rome to do here?
Holy Lord God, you are a missionary God. As you reached out to me, I partner with missionaries you have laid on my heart. Bless, sustain, and use them as they serve around the world.
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