Vol. 3, No. 18 – April 29, 2018
Dear friends in Rome: this letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave, chosen and sent out to preach. Romans 1:1
Christians and Christian Leaders of great achievement are usually those of special attitudes. History shows that they achieved what they did because they believed deeply in what they were doing and thought uniquely about the lives they were living. –D. Stuart Briscoe
I might add that they also think uniquely about the lives they are impacting.
Our text is most likely written in 57 A.D. Paul is a house-guest of Gaius in the great Greek city of Corinth. From reading the Scriptures, Paul often seems fidgety as he enters new fields; new spheres of activity. That is not surprising, for most of us are the same way – it is a human trait.
I can just picture Paul, heading for the local travel agency to lay out plans for an itinerary to Jerusalem carrying financial aid for the needy. Then it would be onward to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Imperial City of Rome, and then finally to Spain, the oldest Roman colony and chief bastion of that day.
Paul always seemed to contemplate the regions beyond. Perhaps whenever he saw a sailing vessel, he just wanted to climb aboard. When he would see a mountain range, perhaps he was driven by what was on the other side. He observed the great centers of world government; he desired to penetrate the world for his Master’s plan. He seems to be a “one direction guy.”
His letter was urgently penned to his “friends” (2 people in a church he had never visited) to prepare them for his visit, and to reveal the purpose of his travel plans. With a fertile mind, and a fluid pen, Paul writes the colossal dispatch we know as the Book of Romans. It is Holy Scripture; actually a Mount Everest in biblical writing – the great inspired by the Holy Spirit tome that still jogs the mind of the reader.
Authors tend to need credentials. When I wrote my book, Under the Broom Tree: Contemplations on Life and Service, the publisher insisted on information about me and about my education and background.
Paul described himself as a doulos. He spoke of his obligation, great love, and the honor of his office. Servant, the title that distinguishes leaders from others was how he identified himself. Servanthood was where his greatness existed; powerful and a trend-setter for the cause of Christ in a Me-First society – where is the doulos today?
He describes himself as a kaleo – a called one. Called; designated by an action to some sphere and manner of being, and of consequential activity.
To a young, cocky, and too sure of himself, young buck preacher, the old preacher A. Godly said: “Was you sent, or did you just went?” Paul was no run of the mill bumpkin; he was selected, called, and equipped.
Paul describes himself as aphorizo; separated. The Greek word contains our word horizon. The prefix ap allows us to literally translate separated as “off-horizoned.” We all live under the same sky; but we have or choose different horizons.
Paul had been lifted out of the circle where he had lived and placed into an entirely different circle. It had a different center, and therefore a different horizon. He, as a Christian now, was “off-horizoned.”
He was separated unto the gospel of God. Henceforth his life revolved on an axis so different that it was a totally different life. –Barnhouse
Have you looked at your “off-horizon” lately?