Psalm 94-96 Romans 15:14-33
“The believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece were happy to give their money to help the poor among God’s people at Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, and really they owe it to them. These who are not Jews have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, so they should use their material possessions to help the Jews.” (Romans 15:26-27 NCV)
Itineraries usually aren’t that exciting. As Paul tells the Roman church about his plans, though, we gain keen insights into his thoughts. He explained that his mission was to the Gentiles, non-Jews in this translation, which was no surprise, but then he added an important tidbit of information: he wanted to preach in places where the gospel had never been heard. Then he let them know about his plans. He was returning to Jerusalem to bring the offering from the believers in Greece for the church in Jerusalem. From there, he’d stop by to greet the church in Rome hoping to get help for his journey to Spain. They were just a stopping place because others had already brought the gospel to Rome.
Paul had an important mission before heading to Rome, and subsequently Spain. He was bringing an offering to the Church in Jerusalem. This is one way the gospel changes people: they become more concerned about others and are willing to give help to those in need. The believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece were happy to give. Paul noted that they should have been, because they owed this Church because they shared in the spiritual blessings of the gospel that came from the Jews. There are a couple of lessons here: 1) we should be eager to give to help others in poverty. There were prophecies of famine in Jerusalem. Often, Christians in Jerusalem had a difficult time making a living after being disowned by family and shunned by the Jews. The offering helped them. Also, 2) we should always be eager to share with those who have provided spiritual blessings. Most pastors, most church staff members are barely scraping by. Around 50% (estimated on the low side) of pastors are bi-vocational. The way we handle money is one of the signs of our relationship with God. We should be eager to give to support people going through difficult times, and eager to give to support those who have blessed us spiritually.
Lord, You have blessed me with so much. Help me to find ways to give to others in a way that promotes the gospel.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved