Romans 15:14-21 – Paul’s Reason for Writing So Boldly
I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. Nevertheless on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ. Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation,
but as it is written,
“Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.
One of my favorite modes for shooting with my camera is what is known as Aperture Priority mode. Basically, its the mode where the photographer manually controls the aperture setting (which determines the amount of light that is let in) and the camera adjusts the rest. One of the primary things that it allows is control over the depth of field – how “deep” the focus is in a photograph. In the picture for today, I am using a very shallow depth of field (f/1.8 for the technically minded) which has a small slice of the image in focus and the rest is out of focus. This is useful when taking portraits where you want focus to be drawn to a person’s face or when you are focusing on a specific object. A larger depth of field is useful for keeping much of the picture in focus such as landscapes, etc.
All that is to say, that I thought of depth of field in reading this passage. Basically, what I hear in Paul here is a singular focus on what is before him – the calling that he has received to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing else, for Paul, seems to matter. “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me…”
I know how hard it is for me to stay focused at times. The phone notification beeps, a call comes in, an email needs to be replied to, a contact needs to be made, someone comes by my office, a child calls for me, Hey look! A Squirrel!
Um…where was I?
Lord, help me keep my focus on you.