Paul was an apostle, that is, a person commissioned by God and sent to the Gentiles – people other than the Jews. Through Peter, and then Paul, the good news of Jesus spread to persons that were beforehand considered unreachable. Paul saw himself as having no limits as to who could hear and respond to the gospel of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He understood himself as standing between heaven and hell, interceding and pleading on behalf of people who need their lives changed through Christ.
It is quite possible that there are persons in our sphere of influence in which we think that they would never respond to the message of Christ’s redemption. In this holiday season of the year, in which we remember God’s loving gift in the humility of God becoming man, it is far too easy to lose sight that at that Christmas party, family gathering, and interaction with that person in the long shopping line, there are those who need Jesus – and we will never know if God is wooing them to himself unless we share life with them.
Perhaps we need to see ourselves as Paul did – standing in the gap and always trying to find ways to proclaim the gospel to people who require deliverance from empty ways of life. That cousin or uncle, that co-worker or friend, and that neighbor or new acquaintance, can be forgotten by us as to their ultimate and most real need to discover faith. We, my friends, are the conduit that God has ordained to bring his life-giving message to people all around us – people for whom we might have already written off as unreachable.
We praise you, O God, for the ministry and success of your servant, the Apostle Paul, through whom we who are Gentiles owe our own faith and calling. Grant us a vision like his, the conviction and commitment to pursue it, and the grace which confirms and prospers it. Amen.