Scripture: Romans 15:14-24
Key verse: (20) 20Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation.
Reflection: “You say I can’t do it because you can’t. But I’m not you.” I read this quote from Muhammad Ali in Carolinian, Davis Miller’s quirky new book about his relationship with the “greatest of all time.” Ali in many ways is as important as ever as he forces us to be honest about our racial divides, but I’m quoting him now because he sounds a lot like St. Paul.
“I’m going to Spain,” Paul declares in chapter 15. No one had ever been there to preach the Gospel but Christians in Rome didn’t understand why he didn’t just want to stay where the rest of the world wanted to be: Rome. Paul says he doesn’t want to build on someone else’s foundation (never mind what he said in I Cor. 3 about partnership and Christ being the only foundation). Remember too that the Christian church in Rome probably had less than one hundred people in a city of close to a million people with many opportunities for new foundations to be built. But Paul felt called to something wild and wonderful. Paul knew that God was calling him, using him for something that no one had seen before. Without Paul the Gospel may not have made it to Asia Minor, Greece, Europe, Charlotte. Paul was the greatest missionary of all time – even if there were times when only he was certain of his calling.
No one needs more encouragement to be obnoxious or convincing that they are God’s gift to this world, but there is something God might want to do with you and through you that could help heal and shape this world into something a little better, a little more the way God dreamed it would be. There is something that maybe only you can do where you are and among the people you are with. Like Paul, like Ali, you may have to appear the fool and forgo the favor and applause of others. But in some simple, small, and perhaps strange way, you just might be the next author of a beautiful story God is longing to tell.
Prayer: I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].