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Much Obliged...

Daily Reading: Romans 1


Scripture Focus: I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel. (Romans 1.14-15a)

Devotional Thought: One day I was talking with a friend about aging. (I am doing that more and more lately!) We discussed how we want to be around family and friends as we get older. My friend spoke of how much our friendship meant to him. I was a bit "embarrassed" by his kind words, for I know that I receive the greater blessing through the friendship.

That’s the way Paul felt about the people he ministered to. He believed that he had received so much more love than he had ever given. Such was his debt to them that he said he was “under obligation.” He felt that way about nearly everybody! And the obligation was not a burden to him. It was his joy!

That’s a great formula for a full life, isn’t it? Realizing, with a sense of joy, how much you "owe" the people around you. If neighbors would see each other that way, there would be a lot fewer Hatfields and McCoys. If couples would see each other that way, there would be a lot fewer Smith vs. Smiths. If employers and employees would see each other that way, there would be a lot less resignations and terminations. How much better our world would be if we could replace suspicion with joyful obligation!

Paul’s obligation had a definite content, too. That was to “preach the gospel.” What is the gospel if it is not the love of God reaching down to the sinner and outcast? So, when we are “under obligation” it is first and foremost to show the love of God to all those around us. Are you – as was Paul – eager to “preach the gospel” of love?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for loving me. Thank you also for giving me people around me who have shown me love as well. Help me to love others with your love. Amen.


Psalm of the Day: 1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! 3 May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah 4 May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans! 5 May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions! (Psalms 20:1-5)

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