The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"One By One By One By One"
We rightly know the Apostle Paul for his teaching, included in the historical accounts in the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles he wrote. However, we do well to also consider how lovingly personal were his relationships with people.
"And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more" (Acts 20:37-38).
"Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved" (Romans 16:8-9; Paul also mentions more than 25 other fellow believers by name in the Romans benediction).
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1:3-5).
Throughout the epistles, we find personal expressions of love and devotion to people in the Apostle's heart and communication. Therein we see beautiful displays of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ formed in Paul, confirming his affirmation, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). Indeed, as wondrous a preacher and teacher as he was, the love of Christ made Paul something far more.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1).
This is written not as a tribute to the Apostle Paul, but rather to the Christ who inhabited, motivated, guided, and empowered our brother of old to love those he had once sought to put to death. Left to himself, Paul would have likely spent a lifetime traveling Damascus roads that led to slaughter rather than salvation. God worked in Paul, however, to reveal the Lord Jesus unto and within him, bestowing a new heart graced with the Savior's love when he trusted the Lord Jesus. Such love is most personal, numbering the hairs of the heads of its beloved, and imparting truth not only by communication of mind to mind, but devoted consecration of heart to heart (Matthew 10:30).
When multitudes came to Him, we came be sure the Lord Jesus looked upon them as one by one by one by one. He never saw a crowd in His earthly lifetime. Nor will those in whom His love resides, empowers, and guides. Count Paul among such a holy company, and let us pray we will join him in the personal devotion that must accompany propositional doctrine. People in Paul's sphere of influence mattered - one by one by one by one. As it will in our own through the love of Christ that makes our lives personal with God, and with people.
"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched Me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with Him said, Master, the multitude throng Thee and press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched Me."
Weekly Memory Verse
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.