Reach Out & Touch Someone
Sep 11, 2014
Have you ever thought how many lives you touch each day? You touch your family, friends, co-workers, and all of the people who provide services that enable you to live your life before (and honoring to) Jesus.
Have you ever considered the impact those “touches” have upon others?
Without giving it much thought, you have probably followed a straightforward hierarchy of family, friends, co-workers, and so forth. In so doing, you’ve developed your own Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the remotest part of the earth that Jesus spoke of in Acts 1:8. In reality, most of us would have to admit that our circle of relationships is pretty limited; we go through our days from one scheduled appointment to another and we’re “done” when the appointments end.
The impact we have as Jesus’ “witnesses” is entirely dependent upon the types—and depths—of relationships we take time to develop. In this day and age, we place a high premium on our time, knowing that our finite day can sustain only the most important of relationships.
How, then, do we find the time to share the spectacular news of salvation with others?
Paul spoke boldly that he was “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). More often than not, my sense is that we fail to share the Gospel not because we are ashamed, but because we don’t feel that we have the time to get involved in an extended conversation or in someone else’s “drama.”
It would be easy to dismiss the amount of time that Paul had for relationships and the sharing of the Gospel because he was a “full-time” minister of the Gospel. But was he actually “full-time”? Remember, as a tentmaker he routinely had to sustain himself through the hard work that tentmaking required. Only after meeting his most basic needs was he able to debate the Jews in the synagogues, reach out to the Gentile world, or teach and train new believers. Just think of how he poured himself into the early church—at great sacrifice to his physical and financial wellbeing.
Yet, Paul was compelled to conclude the book of Romans with what has been dismissed by some as an irrelevant list of names—those who were of little general interest or lasting value to anyone else. However, I think that list might be quite revealing. The list . . .
Begins with a woman—Phoebe—who was to carry the letter to the Romans from Corinth, where Paul is believed to have been when he wrote the letter. She is commended as a servant of the church in Cenchrea (the port city for Corinth) and a patron of many, including Paul.
Includes a host of other women—individually—whose service was of great value to Paul and the Roman church.
Recognizes Epaenetus as the first convert in Asia Minor (modern Turkey).
Mentions some as his countrymen, fellow workers, and/or kinsmen whom the church at Rome would be familiar.
Identifies others as both his countrymen and his fellow prisoners.
Acknowledges those who have political authority and influence, yet believe.
Features the names of at least 10 slaves who were servant-leaders of the church at Rome.
In the midst of all the challenges he faced, Paul had the time—and the presence of mind—to bring to our corporate remembrance the names of people whose hearts and lives touched his life and his calling.
Would you be able to personally name and specifically commend as many people whom your life “touches”?
For all of our Facebook “friends” or others with whom we are connected via social media, it would be hard to imagine the depth of relationship that would qualify for the same type of commendation Paul has provided in Romans 16.
Clearly, our lives are not irrelevant, but, perhaps, those with whom we come into contact each day may feel that they are irrelevant to us. That, of course, would be the wrong message.
Are you beginning to recognize your responsibility for touching lives in such a way that they sense your joy in sharing the Good News of Christ’s work? Why not purposefully “touch” someone you might otherwise have overlooked in your harried life?
That “touch” might be just what they need to see the joy of knowing God and knowing Him personally in their lives!
For more information about how you can “stay the course,” refer to The Wheel illustration at The Navigators’ website.
The Witnessing Spoke (see Matthew 4:19; Romans 1:16): God has given believers the joy and responsibility of telling the world about the Good News of Christ’s work on earth (Matthew 4:19). In fact, sharing this spectacular news with others should be the natural overflow of a rich, vibrant life in Christ (Romans 1:16).