By Brooke Holt
“And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:6-10)
There is no doubt Paul can be a bit wordy in his letters. Clearly, he wants us to understand the significance of what he is saying; thus, he will say the same thing in roundabout ways and with repetition throughout those roundabouts. We see some of that wordiness in our reading today.
In his roundabout way, Paul teaches two aspects of sharing the Gospel—first, there was the aspect of unity among the body of Christ in the call to share the Gospel and second when and where to share it. God calls every believer to tell others about what Jesus has done in his or her life and invite those people to also put their faith in Jesus Christ and receive the Gospel message for themselves. Proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ is common to all of us as the Gospel message unites us and propels our mission to the world.
Beyond the unity we find in the calling of proclaiming the Gospel is the distinction of where and how to share it. Some people are called to overseas missions; God stirs their hearts for a people group or a certain area in the world. God calls others to model faith in corporate settings. Some are called to public ministry, and some are called to become lay teachers, prayer ministers, or leaders. Every person in the body of Christ has a call or many different callings to share the Gospel and build God’s kingdom. Yet, there are distinctions in their ways of serving.
God clearly called Paul to preach to a different group than Peter, yet he called both to proclaim the Gospel and build the church. One is not better than the other or more important. God’s call begins with the unity of his people through the Gospel. It then continues as he equips the saints for different kinds of service throughout the world.
How do you see this unity and distinction as important in how you share the Gospel and recognize others’ call to share the Gospel? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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