Use Me As An Instrument, Lord. I Want To Be Your Hands And Feet!
It is, indeed, glorious to be able to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world. This is what Paul is recognizing here and what he is inviting and challenging the Roman community of believers to participate in as well. Paul is convinced of their goodness and the knowledge of Jesus Christ that they have gained. He recognizes that they have become competent enough in the faith to be able to instruct one another and he praises them for that. But there is more.
Paul is giving them the perspective of his years of ministry in service to God. He expresses it with both joy and true humility. He knows that any success that he has had in spreading the Gospel has been the result of the power of the Holy Spirit, not his own. He will speak of nothing else but of what Christ “has accomplished through me.” (verse 18)
Paul is revealing to the Romans that he has come to understand two things. First, he realizes that he is but an instrument in God’s hands. He has given himself completely to God and God has done all the rest through him. This is a profoundly important insight, not just for Paul, but for all of us. It is not I who brings others to God, but God who does so through me, his living instrument. Jesus Christ is no longer present to us in the flesh. We, now, are the flesh through which he touches the lost, the lonely, the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, and the imprisoned. When we, like Paul, bend our wills to that of God, we make ourselves available to God to be used as his instruments in the world.
That brings us to the second thing. As Christian believers, we are all called to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing it to the world, just as Paul did. We are to do this with our words and our deeds, with our prayers on our knees in solitude, and with our prayers on our feet in the public market place. We, too, are called, like Paul, to “glory in Christ Jesus in [our] service to God.” What a joyful thought. We have come to know joy in Christ Jesus. What greater thanksgiving can we give to God than to bring others to that same joy?
Lord, giver of all good things, we pray that you use us as your simple, yet graceful, instruments of love, mercy, and compassion in our daily lives. We are not great as the world counts it. We are, indeed, very small, but we believe that you can do great things through our humble and willing service in your name. Strengthen and encourage us to be good and faithful ministers of the Good News of Jesus Christ to all we know and meet. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!
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