Candle Lighting the World
A candle shines the moment it is lit. When we become God’s child by grace through faith, He lights our spiritual candle. St. Paul’s candle shone when he preached, planned, and prayed.
God called Paul to share the gospel with the Gentiles. Not every Gentile would believe it, but some would. Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19–20). Not all will become Jesus’ disciples, but some will.
God’s enabling grace goes with His commands (verses 15–16). We’ve the same enabling grace that powered Paul’s life (2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Timothy 2:1).
Paul shared the good news about Jesus to honor and glorify God. The picture in verse 16 is a priest bringing an offering to gladden God’s heart. We make God happy when we share His good news with others. Paul’s offering to God was the Gentiles who would come to faith through his preaching. Our offering is those we’ve influenced for Christ during our lifetime.
Christ worked through Paul (verse 18). He’ll also work through us. We’re God’s power lines. His blessings flow through us to others. Through us, God connects with a needy world. Christ works through our words (2 Timothy 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:20). He also works through our loving deeds which confirm our words. The changes Christ brings to our character and conduct are as supernatural as the instantaneous healing of the sick.
Paul planned to go to Spain. But before he went there, he wanted to go to Jerusalem. He looked to cement the Jewish and Gentile believers of the church together. He had a plan. The Gentile churches would give a contribution to the poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem. The word translated “contribution” in verse 26 is elsewhere in the New Testament translated “fellowship.” Christian fellowship is sharing the things of Christ—material things, the word, prayer, encouragement, joys, burdens, worship, etc.
This contribution required considerable planning and organization. Organizing for ministry is still relevant. The church needs both God’s life and a plan. Organization won’t advance God’s kingdom by itself. Neither will disorganization. Paul’s candle shone brightest when he applied God’s wisdom to plan.
Paul’s first prayer request was to be delivered from Jewish opposition in Judea. He asked the Roman Christians to pray for him persistently and earnestly. The most effective prayers are flaming arrows released from the bow of an earnest heart. My prayers are sometimes half-hearted. I’ve room for improvement there. Do you?
Paul’s second prayer request was that the Jerusalem church would receive the gift given by the Gentile churches with proper thanksgiving.
You are a burning candle for Jesus commissioned to light your world.
A living gospel,
You preach each day,
By the love you show,
And the words you say.
People are watching,
Be faithful and true,
A candle burning brightly,
Reveals Jesus in you.
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