Summary of passage: Paul tells the Romans how he has longed to see them for a while now but has been prevented from doing so as he has many commitments (as we all do!). He wants to encourage them.
9) He wants to see the Romans to impart a spiritual gift of encouragement in their faith to them, but he has been prevented from doing do due to his other duties and the timing of God has not been right (the harvest time).
10) Personal Question. My answer: Paul doesn’t forget the Romans. He touches base with them. He lets them know he is thinking about them and praying for them and is with them in spirit. He tells them he is coming in God’s time. Same with us. We are all busy people. But not forgetting commitments to others (and God) is important. Trust in God to open the doors when He’s ready.
11) Part personal Question. My answer: Paul was called by God to preach to all. He embraces it and is eager to perform his duty. What we don’t read in Acts (Acts 26:19-23) is Paul doing exactly what God tells him to do. He obeys unquestioningly. I would say my attitude is similar to Paul’s. It’s just something I do ambivalently. I do His will. Accept it and move on.
Conclusions: I think it is important to honor our commitment to God and to others. Here, in this passage, I believe it’s more of an emphasis of Paul’s to the Romans. Acknowledge people. Don’t keep them hanging or guessing. Be honest and open. Tell them why it’s not a good time right now but give them a time when it is. I think people today appreciate forth righteousness more than flimsy excuses.
End Notes: Note how Paul says he needs encouragement from the Romans! This is something we often forget. Our pastors need us to pray for them and journey alongside of them in their spiritual growth.
Paul realized he had an obligation to the Romans. Remember in history this is the time of the Pax Romana, a time of unseen economic prosperity and growth for the first time in history. It is in such an environment that Christianity could grow without being overwhelmed by the basic needs of mankind (like food and such). Paul felt a duty to bring the gospel to those who enabled the gospel to spread.
Greeks here then are those who followed the Greek way of life. Non-Greeks are the other Gentiles or barbarians in the eye of the Greeks.
Paul is ready to go–with only Christ by his side. I’m sure Paul had a vision of sailing the calm Mediterranean, taking in the smell and sun of the sea, and landing on the coast of Italy. Instead, he came as a shipwrecked prisoner (Acts 27-28). However, he still fulfills God’s plan for his life.
2 Lessons to us:
1) Pray for and encourage your pastor!
2) Embrace God’s path, not yours.