Paul was talking about his more pioneering missions, but now talks about going to Jerusalem where Christianity began (I realize Jesus was born in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth, but the resurrection happened in Jerusalem). I was praying on my ride into work this morning about a man in our church I wanted to see involved in more missional activity. While we should all be involved missionally, I was reminded during that prayer time that this man is already serving as a Sunday school teacher and is a leader in other areas of the church where he is gifted and passionate. All of us have different gifts. Of course he, and all, should live missionally wherever they go, but I shouldn’t expect people to be involved in every project the church does. We are not all the same. Paul was sent to the Gentiles but had a passion for Israel. He was a pioneer but served at times in Jerusalem. He served where sent. As I consider what the Lord might have for me throughout my life, I must remember that it will not always look the same. I have already seen the Lord change my passions and ministry trajectory and He might do it again. Sometimes I may serve in places that I never would have considered or might not be as excited about. Only God knows the plan. Mine is to follow. Paul also expected the Gentiles to give to the poor believers in Jerusalem, partly out of gratitude for taking the gospel to them in the first place. The community is expanded beyond a local church to the universal Church. All are to have all in common. That is part of what I like about how TSBC is serving Mt. Olive and the Christ Church. That is living out this passage by helping believers who are presently more needy for the sake of the Kingdom instead of just focusing on building our own congregation. We got a taste of that with our Passion Week events as well when several churches in the area came together. Finally, Paul shows his dedication to the Romans and his love for them, letting them know that he does intend to visit them. He has talked about how he longs to see them, but he also has a lot of churches to visit and new ones to establish. Given that he couldn’t just hop on a flight, his missionary journeys took a lot of time. I am sure that was a comfort and excitement to the Roman readers.
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