April 16, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 16 April 2019
Exceptional leaders do not ask those they lead to do something that they have not first already accomplished themselves. The Apostle Paul, for example, chose to demonstrate personally how he lived sacrificially (Matt 10:38) to encourage the church in Rome — and believers in all the churches that he planted (started) — to do the same.
Matthew 10:38 – [Jesus said,] “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
The motivation of the Apostle is evident in the final section of the letter to the believers in Rome (15:14—16:27). Of course, a great leader never boasts with regard to self; therefore, the Apostle Paul indicated four aspects of his life to represent priorities that every believer in Jesus Christ should desire. Paul was a builder, a servant, a shepherd, and an apostle. The “foundation” of the believer’s life is Jesus Christ. Building upon Him — which is the only manner to have one’s life extend into eternity — occurs by living the pure gospel of grace. Serving others demonstrates the love of God upon which the gospel is based. Shepherding others means developing genuine and effective relationships that endure. The vision of an apostle causes one to witness the truth of God’s Word proclaimed and received where it has not been the experience previously.
1 Corinthians 3:11 – For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The motivations that are mentioned in Romans 15:14—16:27 are not mere academic initiatives that were imagined by the Apostle Paul to maintain a comfortable life of ease. The priorities that Scripture commends are those that the Apostle Paul had accomplished, and was in the process of accomplishing, as he wrote the book of Romans. Even when Paul mentioned himself as an example for other Christians to follow, his exhortation was related to the example of the Lord Jesus Christ who he was following (1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Phil 3:17; 4:9; 1 Thess 1:6; 2 Thess 3:9). The final section of Romans indicates the motivations, priorities, and values of a great Christian leader, which become a model of authentic Christian faith. In the life of the Apostle Paul, we witness an individual wholly committed to the gospel as “the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16).
A long list of men and women who were involved in the church at Rome are identified in Romans 16:3-16. Several principles can be gleaned from these verses. First, Paul was grateful for the favors he received, whether large or small. He never forgot a favor or friend. Second, there is a strategic need for women to labor faithfully in the work of ministry. Third, it is possible to influence places that we have never visited personally (Paul had not visited Rome yet, when he wrote the letter). We can influence others who will serve in geographical locations that we may never be privileged to visit.
The gospel is what stabilizes the Christian faith. As the gospel works in my life and your life through the power of the Holy Spirit, it has the power to change hearts and minds, and to make new people mature in faith toward God. The practical virtues stated throughout Romans 16 emphasize what should be the ambition of our lives. Commit to build upon the foundation that is in Christ, while serving and shepherding others, with the vision of an apostle.
Your Missionary to Our Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.