Plans Interrupted

28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ. Romans 15:28-29 (ESV)

As discussed at length in yesterday’s message, Paul’s plans for travel from Jerusalem to Rome and then to Spain were anything but carried out as he hoped. And while there is much application from that for each person, I had a further thought for which there was simply no time in the message itself. What of the church at Rome? How did the massive changes to Paul’s travel itinerary impact them? While we have no Biblical record regarding Paul’s further communication with the church, it can be assumed that it would have been difficult to get to the church especially initially the news of Paul’s arrest and imprisonment. It seems from Acts 28 that word of the arrest hadn’t reached the larger Jewish community at Rome and maybe that indicates how little the church at Rome knew of it as well. Aside from this (maybe) helpful Biblical footnote, I think there are some application points we can draw from the matters we do know for certain. And here is what we know, Paul a Christian leader set a plan and that plan would have an impact on the church. The plan was interrupted not just for Paul but for the church at Rome as well.

The application that sticks out the most from this is maybe too simple. Churches need to recognize that the plans of their leaders can be interrupted and be delayed or altogether fail. Such interruptions, delays and failures can come from God’s greater plans. Churches need to be careful in assuming the causes or assigning blame to leaders when their plans are interrupted, are delayed or fail altogether. Leaders are broken people (trust me, I look at one in the mirror everyday). Sometimes it is our sin or failure or negligence that causes a plan to not work. Sometimes it is not. Moreover, whatever interrupts our plans we need to trust in a God who is working beyond our plans. His promise is to build His church. His promise is to work all things (even failed leaders and plans) to our good. It is helpful and hopeful to me as a leader to recognize that even Paul whose life was a living, breathing example of Christ-likeness had plans that didn’t turn out how he imagined. It would seem that the church in Rome afforded him grace in the midst of those plans being interrupted. Let’s redouble our trust in God and remember that our plans can interrupted and if He is the one interrupting, then it is for our best!

 

If you care to check out the blog referenced yesterday, you can, here is the link: Can God Be Trusted?

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