“For I have a great sense of obligation to people,” says the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:14. It wasn’t a duty he despised. “I am eager to come to you in Rome, too,” he says in verse 15, “to preach the Good News.” Eager to fulfill an obligation? I find that remarkable, as obligations have the connotation of being dreary. But the obligation to bring people good news? Not so dreary, as it can change lives!
Carrying out this joyful obligation often requires a sacrifice, which can actually be part of the joy. One simple example is that of a parent, sacrificing time and money, to teach her child about Jesus. Many of us can relate to that. When grandchildren come along, we have the privilege of doing it again. “No trouble at all!” we say, as we lean into our obligation.
Many of us move beyond family obligation to neighborhood and community obligation. It takes a bit more courage and a bit more sacrifice, but bringing Good News to those nearby is what we feel obligated to do – joyfully! It’s not a burden, it’s a privilege. Neighboring becomes a lifestyle.
There is also a group of people who want to make obligation their vocation. It becomes their joy to make a living by creating opportunities and environments where the Good News can be shared and lived. I work on a church staff with these kinds of people, some who have taken large pay cuts and downsized housing for the sole purpose of this joy and privilege. Their spouse and children are immersed with them in this joyful obligation.
Out of each of these levels of joyful obligation comes individuals and families who say their sense of obligation is global, to those who live far away. They take to heart God’s heart for the nations and are eager to move to another country and culture to become part of the Good News message. They are the answer to Paul’s question in Romans 10:14, “And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
How Shall They Hear? is the Perspectives topic I will be teaching October 10 in room 202, 6:30-9:15.
Having lived with my family the global obligation to East Africa, I will share some standard principles on bringing the Good News to a culture different than your own. Just as Paul went to Athens and used their Unknown God to make Jesus known, we can discover the presence of God in any culture and build the Good News message in language that makes sense to them and remains true to God’s Word. These principles will apply to any level of joyful obligation you are involved in – family, neighborhood, community, church or cross-culturally.
Anyone is welcome to come to one Perspectives session for free, and this would be a good one for anyone eager to be a thoughtful messenger.
To whom do you have a great sense of obligation, to share the Good News?
Til next week,