“Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.”
Romans 1:8-9 NLT
Paul, in his letter, reassured his Roman friends that he prayed for them. Apparently Paul was in Corinth when he wrote this epistle, and, in spite of his busy schedule, he found the time to pray for the Christians in Rome. I can just imagine him praying for each one by name, bringing before God their individual needs. And it wasn’t just a one off exercise. His prayers were “often” and took place “day and night”. Paul prayed for his friends in Rome, but his main passion and purpose in life was to spread the Good News about Jesus.
Paul’s blueprint for life involved prayer and evangelism. Pastoral concern and seeing new people touched and converted by the love of God. Making a career in some lofty theological role in the Jewish religions hierarchy was not for Paul, though we do know from other places in the Bible that, when his, and his fellow workers, needs demanded, he went back to his old profession of making tents. Paul’s mission in life was “spreading the Good News about” Jesus. And nothing, even personal hardship and abuse, would divert him from this task. Even when incarcerated in prison, he still carried on – praying and writing was not denied him when his physical freedom was curtailed.
What is our blueprint for life? The normal process is for a child to be educated, train for a profession, get a job, get married, bring up a family, and fade away from this life through a (hopefully long) retirement. A cynical view of humanity? Perhaps, but like Paul, there are priorities to be assigned in life. The God-ordained process of living is governed by one overarching principle – we do what we do with Christ as our focus. Paul wrote to another group of believers these words, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17). And he goes on to write in Colossians 3:23. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” A quote from David Pawson’s book, “Heaven and Hell. A Message of Hope and a Warning to Believers”, “The Lord is more interested in how you work than what your job is. Did you know that? Billy Graham’s wife put above the kitchen sink, “Notice: Divine service is held here three times every day.””
In times of drudgery, it sometimes helps to know that Jesus is there with us. We all go through periods of boredom, times of wishing we had a better job, better boss, better house and so on. But in some miraculous way, as we bring Jesus’ presence into our times of frustration and even depression, a ray of His light will change the perspective. The monochrome will become infused with wonderful colours. The mundane will be transformed and even translated into heavenly realms. Jesus knows what we go through – He went through it Himself on this earth. We don’t know much about His life before He started His itinerant mission to His people, but we do know He was a carpenter and had a reputation for His work. I’m sure the farming and other implements fabricated by His hands were treasured by those who received them. And I’m sure Jesus was continually asking His loving Heavenly Father, “Is it time yet?” We know now is the time, and with God’s help, we pilgrims continue our earthly journey heading for our Heavenly home, always aware of our “Divine Service”. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation“. There is no time like the present to tell our friends and families about the love of Jesus.
Dear Father God. Thank You that we know You. Not for us the ways of the world, leading to eternal destruction. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, and His willingness to die in our place for our sins. We worship You today. Amen.