Tuesday June 22, 2021
Heavenly Father – help me start today with a clear heart and a clear mind ready to receive your word in a brand new way today. Amen.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
I read this text, and I immediately thought of the word “longing?” When’s the last time you longed for something? When was the last time that you desired something so much that it stayed on your mind and consumed your prayers and decision-making? Paul’s desire to be with the Roman Christians was so strong that he was willing to get there by any means necessary. According to Paul, the faith of the Roman Christians was world-famous and so intriguing was their story that Paul believed that their meeting would not only strengthen his and their faith, but they together might produce something incredible. Catch that. Paul had never met these people; he’d only heard about them. And what he heard was enough to draw the attention and affection of one of the early church’s most prolific and influential leaders. Our faith stories have the ability to inspire others. These stories of grace are ours, but they aren’t ours alone.
Let me invite you to reflect on this question. How well is your faith known? Are people willing to come from miles around because of your incredible faithfulness? As a community, as we continue to understand what it means to be a new church for a new world, our continued faith formation must be a central question for us individually and collectively.
Lord, these are your words. This is our story. Help me live in a way that honors you today and everyday. Amen.
The First 15
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