At Present, However

James Cook

READ : Romans 15:14–33

At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. (v. 25)

Paul’s character exhibited a beautiful combination of vision and practicality. These verses throb with the spirit of a man who dreamed of great things. For years he had longed to visit the church in the imperial city. Now, with the centers of Asia evangelized, the dream awaited its fulfillment. And by this time Paul had caught glimpses of more distant things. Rome was no longer simply a destination. It was an open door to a new vision Paul carried in his heart: the evangelization of Spain! No sensitive reader can miss his longing to forge ahead and claim the bright promise of the future.

But suddenly the future vision gives way to the present need and dream surrenders to duty. Nothing is more inviting than the future. “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.” Rome and Spain beckoned; but so did the hungry and homeless of Jerusalem. It was the genius of Paul that he never let the brightness of the future blind him to the duty of the present.

We have not always followed the apostle in this regard. We must never let visions of glory blind us to the tasks at hand. Though not of the world, we are in the world as the servants of our Lord. The future is glorious to behold. At present, however, there are wars to end, hungry to feed, homeless to house, naked to clothe, and lost to save. (originally published October 30, 1961)

PRAYER

Thank you, God, for future dreams and present duties.