We Can Do It
Lord, You promised that I can do all things through You who strengthens me, especially when the need is to work together.
Read Romans 15:14–22
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.
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.
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (Deut. 30:11).
Perhaps by this time the Roman Christians are feeling that Paul is asking too much of them. We might be tempted to feel the same. Surely, do such high expectations leave us feeling that we are bound to fail? Paul will have none of this, however, and he reminds
them (and us) just how much they have going for them: these sisters and brothers were full of goodness and knowledge, and they were competent—so much so that they could teach each other, as though Paul himself wasn’t needed (14). Of course they could do it!
Yet Paul is confident and clear that he does have something to offer. He wants, when he
eventually would come, to “impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong” (Rom 1:11; cf. Rom. 15:29). He had written boldly to them, reminding them of some challenging admonitions (those we have just covered). Moreover he has God’s authority to do this: he had been given grace for the task (15). He was called to a mediating ministry of both proclaiming the Gospel and gathering the Gentiles into the new community of faith. Nobody could accuse Paul of being diffident; given his charge, he has a duty to carry it out (Acts 9:15,16).
It is jarring here to be faced with Paul’s continuing fervency for Christ (17–22). Despite all that he had suffered, with more to come (2 Cor. 11:16–33), he is undaunted in his obedience to Christ. He has seen the power of God at work through him (18,19). He has led many to obedience to Christ. He has studiously avoided creating complications for other messengers of Christ by building on foundations they had laid (20). His burning ambition is to pioneer and to break new ground for Christ, so as to enlarge the circle of faith. Yet he gives all the glory to Christ and wants none for himself (17,18).
We should all have godly ambitions. How would you describe your own?
Lord, teach me how to labor in Your vineyard and achieve great results and to give all the glory to You as owner and operator. I acknowledge Your indispensable assistance in the task.