Scripture: Romans 15:14-24
Key verse: (15) Nevertheless, on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given to me by God.
Reflection: Nevertheless … Paul follows up a high praise of the community with “Nevertheless.” I feel confident about your goodness, who you are, your ability to teach one another says Paul, nevertheless, I’ve got some more to say and I’m going to say it boldly. Does Paul know what he’s doing? Why is he rocking the boat? Doesn’t he know he’s got a good thing going on, and shouldn’t upset the system? And furthermore, if Paul really feels like he needs to speak out, must he do so boldly?
As Paul makes clear in the rest of the passage, his interest has always been for the glory of God and following God’s leading in the world, wherever that takes him. Ever since his transformation on the Road to Damascus, Paul has boldly and confidently followed where Christ was leading. Not one to be distracted by the maintenance of comfort and stability, Paul chose to follow the free moving of the Spirit among the Gentiles (non-Jews) and in doing so was challenged to reimagine many of the laws, customs, and traditions that once defined his life.
How does bold talk make you feel? Does it inspire you? Does it frustrate you? Does it make you uncomfortable? Depending upon the truthfulness of the bold talk, perhaps it makes you feel all of these ways. When confronted by what God is up to in the world, we are met with a bold vision, a vision that questions our comfort, shakes up our stability, and urges us onward. Bold talk of the gospel isn’t meant for comfort and stability in our world as it is, but for transformation and growth into the future God is calling us from.
Where do you feel uncomfortable by bold talk? Take time today, reflect upon what makes you uncomfortable. Is this a place you might need to grow? Is this a place God is moving you onward? Transformation is not easy, it is not stable, not always comfortable as we would like it to be. However, if we trust in God’s guidance, we can take comfort not that things will be the same, but in the fact that we are ushered into the future in the palm of God’s hand, wherever that may take us.
Prayer: Gracious God, we recognize that we often avoid boldness for the safety of familiarity. Open our ears to hear your bold word for us this day. And guide us by your Spirit that we may see the beauty, goodness, and faithfulness of the future to which you are calling us in Christ. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[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].