Debtor, Eager, and not Ashamed

Vol. 3, No. 18 – May 6, 2018

I am under obligation both to the Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:14-16

One extraordinary man, the Apostle Paul, for 30 hectic, energy-sapping years as a Christian Leader had been a man of action; a man of decision. He was a leader who made progressive realizations toward specific goals, with the outcome of true success.

My dad would say to me, “Don’t just stand there. Do something!” Little did I know that the saying was not original with my dad.

Roger Bellows gives a poignant illustration of indecision: A mule stands in the center of a circle; all around its circumference is a ring of fragrant hay. The mule is hungry. There is no wind blowing, no breeze to waft the fragrance more strongly from one direction than another. The goals, equally attractive, surround the mule. He remains in the center and starves to death.

What was the extraordinary impetus with Paul; what made his juices flow?

Paul was motivated by debt. His real red ink? Whether a man was cultured or crude, an intellectual or an ignoramus; a runaway slave like Onesimus, or the proud monarch like King Agrippa, they were on Paul’s To Do List, his Debt List. It did not matter to Paul if the person he was ministering to was likable, or even if that person liked him.

Our obligation; our debt? We have found the treasure of the gospel, and we must share it with any and all – no one ever crosses our path by accident.

Paul was motivated by what Christ did for him, and Paul’s own eagerness. This was his “gusto”: Every leader need not be a genius, but every one of them must have urgency, a quality that is defined in terms of enthusiasm, originality, alertness, positive outlook, and possess a note of fervency. Paul preached Christ in Jerusalem and was mobbed. He preached Christ in Athens and was mocked. He preached Christ in Philippi and was mugged. He preached Christ in Rome and he was martyred. God expects us to always be ready with our eagerness.

Paul was motivated by assurance. This was a catalyst for Paul. He was not embarrassed nor humiliated by the good news of Jesus Christ. The Greeks had their logic, the Romans had their law, and the Hebrews had their light — but in the face of all three dominating philosophies, Paul, the cosmopolitan leader could say: “I am not ashamed!” He is not a coward, but a champion of the best and highest. The spur in our saddle is the gospel, a powerful life-changing agent.

Our motivation for being a follower of Christ is to never let it smolder. Rake it now and then, liven it up, add some fuel, brighten it, but above all, make it burst into flame again.
One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary people. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary person. –Elbert Hubbard, 1913

Every believer is a leader of someone; some believers lead many. Our leadership contains the expectation of God, that we teach/model for our following leaders. They repeat what they see in us.

Noblesse oblige, the French expression that we who have the privileges, have a terrific obligation to share it with others is here for our contemplation.

I am busy raking my fire, stirring the ashes, getting the heat going, How about you?

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

May 6, 2018

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