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Working Your Beat

Briefing: Patrol officers have beats. Some call them districts. This is your assigned area of responsibility. Think of your beat and consider how much of it has been impacted by your witness or testimony about the Good News.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 15:23-33.

On the Street: Paul makes a statement here that blows my mind. He says, “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions”. Paul is confident that he has spread God’s Word to all of the places he has been called to.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus told his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus was giving His disciples a map of their assignments. Jerusalem was their town and Judea was their state. For us Judea would be equivalent to the state we live in. Samaria was a foreign land that bordered Israel so you could say this was their surrounding states. Then Jesus gives the all-encompassing, “to the ends of the earth”. Paul had moved past his “Jerusalem” and “Judea” and was working through his “Samaria” when he made this statement. Paul had finished up his state and was looking for new places in the world to go spread the gospel of Christ. Can you say that about your state? How about your county or parish? How about your hometown or your work place? I don’t know about you but I am still working on my Jerusalem, reaching out to my Judea and sending these devotionals out, hopefully, to Samaria and the ends of the earth. We all have work to be done.

Paul is a man who can say he finished his work in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. He was headed to his “ends of the earth” via Rome. But, Paul does something here that is gigantic. He gives us an example of not losing sight on what is happening back home. We can move through God’s calling and get prideful in what He has allowed us to do. See, we don’t do God’s work for Him. He does the work and allows us to tag along and be a part of what He is doing. Paul does not get too big for his britches. He takes time to look back and see areas of need that have been overlooked and stops to take care of them. He is loving well and walking humbly with his God. Paul stops what he is doing and returns to Jerusalem to take donations for the poor there.

Looking closer at this passage, Paul is also teaching us a lesson about producing good fruit. Do you share your material blessings? Paul calls the material blessing fruit. John the Baptist said, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. Do you give your tithe to the church? Do you think the God of the universe needs your money? He requires it to test our obedience to Him and to give you an opportunity to show, through your actions, that you put God first.

Although Paul is going to the ends of the earth for God, he has not forgotten about his “Jerusalem”. He is literally going back to take much needed relief to the people of Jerusalem who have been crushed under the hand of Rome. Paul is showing his obedience to God with his words and his actions.

Investigational Resources: Malachi 3:6-18.

Officer Safety Principle: Do not be overwhelmed by these questions. It is simply a reality check. God has called us to an area of responsibility such as a beat or a district. How are you doing in your area?

from The Book of Romans Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!

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