Monday, May 20

Obligated, eager and not ashamed

Scripture: 1 Kings 6, 2 Chronicles 3, Psalm 97, Romans 1

Romans 1:14–16 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Observation

Paul tells the Roman Christians that he is looking forward to coming to visit them and “impart some spiritual gift to make you strong” and “have a harvest among you.”  Then he gives his motivation for coming: he is obligated to everyone to share the gospel; he is eager to share the gospel; he is not ashamed of the gospel.  

I am obligated.  To be obligated is to have a moral debt; it is to owe someone.  Paul felt obligated, indebted to all men—he owed it to everyone to share the gospel with them.  This obligation came from his call to follow Jesus and be an apostle, and it came from the need of humanity and God’s answer to that need.  

It came from his call: God called him to follow and “catch people for God” (Mark 1:17 the first disciples’ call, and by extension, ours).  That call laid upon him the obligation to share the gospel with everyone.  We share that call and obligation as followers of Jesus.

It also came from the universal human need for a Savior and God’s provision.  If you had cancer and found a cure, you’d be obligated to share that cure with everyone.  It would be morally wrong to keep it to yourself.  If you have the ability and opportunity to help someone, you are obligated to do so.  

I am eager.  Paul was not only obligated, but stood ready, willing, able and eager to share the gospel.  Obligation alone can feel like duty: I have to.  But eagerness indicates desire: I want to.  I have been blessed and want to share the blessing.  

I am not ashamed.  Paul was not ashamed of the gospel; said positively, he was proud of the gospel.  It is good news, not bad news.  It is God’s power to bring salvation to everyone.  “Help has arrived!”  “We’re not alone.”  “God is for us, not against us.”  Properly understood, the gospel is something to be proud of, to share with confidence and joy.

Application

This speaks deeply to me.  I often don’t live this way: obligated, eager and not ashamed.  I can be selfish.  I hesitate to share the gospel some times because it doesn’t feel like the right timing, or I’m concerned that the other person will reject it or me.  Sometimes I’m silent because it doesn’t feel convenient, or I just don’t feel like it.  

I don’t feel obligated to others—just that one idea would change everything.  What if I saw myself indebted to every person I meet to share the gospel eagerly and proudly?  What if I understood that I have been entrusted by God with a gift that they need, and He expects me to share it with them?  I am obligated not only to them, but to God.  It would change everything.  

Recently, I was paired with a stranger for golf.  We visited as we walked, but I never got to Jesus.  Forgive me Lord.  I see that I am obligated to that young man, just as surely as if he was sick and I had the cure, or he was poor and I had resources.  

Prayer: Lord, give me this sense of obligation, and along with it, a sense of urgency, eagerness and joy to share the gospel with everyone I meet.