Beyond the Bucket List

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Let me ask you several questions to get you started thinking about today’s verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans:

  • What makes you tick?
  • What drives you?
  • What is the Father’s call for you and your life?
  • What matters most to you but remains undone on your spiritual bucket list?

These are the issues that Paul shares from his heart with the Roman believers in the closing words of this letter to them (Romans chapters 15 and 16).

Today’s verses focus on Paul’s very clear sense of his call to share the good news, My story, with all the nations. He recognized that he had been specially called to reach the non-Jewish world. His heart was passionately drawn to reach people who had never heard of Me or My story. He recognized that this call, this grace that was given to him by the Father, was what made him who he was. This call was what drove him to do what he did, what made him tick, what mattered most, and what he desperately wanted to accomplish before he died.

Rome was the most important city of the Roman Empire during Paul’s time. As badly as Paul wanted to visit Rome, he saw it as his stepping stone to the lands and peoples who lived west of Italy. He wanted the Christians in Rome to help him get to those lands. As you will see over the next several weeks, Paul’s trip to Rome didn’t materialize quite as he had hoped. However, he did get to Rome, and he ministered in Rome as people came to him during his house arrest. Ultimately, Paul was martyred for pursuing his ministry. As he faced the end of his life, he powerfully testified that he had accomplished the work he was given to do (2 Timothy 4:6-8; cf. Acts 20:24). My hope for you is that you will have that same confidence and sense of accomplishment in living your life for Me!

Verses to Live

Today as you read the verses below, I want you to feel the passion Paul had for his calling. I want you to commit to finding that kind of passion for your calling to serve Me. You may not be a missionary quite like Paul. But please realize this: I placed you in the relationships and with the network of people you have in your life for you to fulfill My calling for you. You are no less a minister, and you do not have less of a Christian calling if your employment is not church-related. In fact, I want you to realize that much of what happened to spread the good news in the first century occurred because business people and traveling families took My message with them wherever they went (Acts 8:1-4). Remember that people like Paul shared My message as they did their work. Paul was a tent maker along with Priscilla and Aquila. Apollos was a traveling businessman. Along with many others whose names you don’t know, they shared My message and forever changed the world. I will share more with you about this type of ministering in a couple of days as we look at how Paul mentioned all the people he loved and knew in Rome, a place he had not visited when he mentioned these people. Today, however, I want you to focus on Paul’s passion for living out his calling!

My brothers and sisters, I am ultimately confident that you are full of goodness, knowledge, and the ability to help and instruct one another. I have written to you with unflinching honesty on many topics because I do not want you to ever lose sight of the tremendous grace God has given me. His grace makes me who I am, a minister of the Anointed One, Jesus, called to serve the nations.

The good news of God is the focus of my priestly work. In effect, these nations have become an offering to God, totally acceptable, indeed made holy by the work of the Holy Spirit. So in Jesus, the Anointed One, I have reason to celebrate the things I do for God. I don’t want to be presumptuous, so I will restrict myself to what the Anointed has accomplished through my words and actions, which has culminated in the obedience of the nations. My words and actions have been rooted in Spirit-empowered signs and miracles. The upshot is this: I have been able to preach the good news of the Anointed One in city after city from Jerusalem all the way around the Mediterranean to Illyricum. I have dreamed of preaching the gospel in places where no one has ever heard of the Anointed so that I do not build on a foundation laid by anyone else. But as the Scriptures say,

They will see Him even though they’ve never been told about Him;

they will understand even though they never heard of Him.

Because of many issues, I have not been able to visit you in the city of Rome. But my time to serve those here is coming to an end, there’s no room left for me in this region, and I have longed to come to you for many years. So I plan to visit you on my journey to Spain. I am hoping that I will not only see you face-to-face, but that you will assist me in the journey west after I have enjoyed our time together

(Romans 15:14-24)

Response in Prayer

O Father, help me know in my heart what You have called me to do to live for Jesus. I ask that the Spirit help me know what this calling is. I ask, O Holy Spirit, that You will also fill my heart with a burning flame of passion like Paul demonstrated in today’s verses. I want to be fully responsive, dear Father, to Your calling and mission in my life. I ask for this grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.