Read: Romans 15:23-33
Consider: In the opening sentence of today’s reading Paul makes an unusual statement, as follows: But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions (Romans 15:23a). On first reading this might seem odd as we would expect the work of the gospel to continue unabated. During his missionary journeys Paul sought to establish churches and then to encourage them to develop under the leadership of competent believers. He sometimes spent only days in one place, although in some cases it was several years. When he stayed in one place it was always to ensure that the believers there had grasped the basis of the gospel so that they could pass it on faithfully to others. If you look back to Romans 15:20 we read this: 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. Paul had a burden for the lost and needy; those who as yet had not heard about Christ. His eye was always on the mission field. Paul seems to have taken the words of Jesus seriously, when he said: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Luke 10:2).
Paul did not see his visit to Rome as an end in itself, as he tells us that he hoped to visit Rome on his way to Spain (15:24). While he talks about ‘passing through’, he also says that he anticipates enjoying their company for a while. In Romans 15:29 Paul says: I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. What is this full measure Paul speaks of? Is Paul talking about the demonstration of the Holy Spirit through signs and wonders (15:19)? In this instance Paul seems to be speaking of coming to the believers in Rome with the full blessing (or approval) of Jesus. In other words, this wasn’t his plan, but that of God himself.
How do you feel about the lost and needy, those who as yet have not heard the good news of the gospel? Do you have a vision for sharing the gospel? Have you prayed about this and sought God’s will about the matter? Let God show you the path you should take, so that you may proceed in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
Pray: Father, we pray for anyone who has a burden for the lost and a vision for serving you either at home or abroad. May you reveal your will to them and convince them of your approval. In whatever way we serve, may we do it in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. Amen