23Now there is nothing left for me to do in this part of the world, and for years I have wanted to visit you. 24So I plan to stop off on my way to Spain. Then after a short, but refreshing, visit with you, I hope you will quickly send me on.
25-26 I am now on my way to Jerusalem to deliver the money that the Lord's followers in Macedonia and Achaia collected for God's needy people. 27 This is something they really wanted to do. But sharing their money with the Jews was also like paying back a debt, because the Jews had already shared their spiritual blessings with the Gentiles. 28After I have safely delivered this money, I will visit you and then go on to Spain. 29And when I do arrive in Rome, I know it will be with the full blessings of Christ.
30My friends, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that comes from the Holy Spirit, I beg you to pray sincerely with me and for me. 31Pray that God will protect me from the unbelievers in Judea, and that his people in Jerusalem will be pleased with what I am doing. 32Ask God to let me come to you and have a pleasant and refreshing visit. 33I pray that God, who gives peace, will be with all of you. Amen.
Paul completed his mission of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the territories where he had ministered up to the present time. He now shares with the believers in Rome a project that he has on his heart, namely, that of preaching the Gospel in Spain – to the extreme western reaches of the Roman empire. Paul’s immediate mission at hand, however, is to deliver an offering to the poor among the Jerusalem saints.
In exposing his heartfelt plan, Paul was, in reality, submitting it to them and to God. He uses the occasion to request their intercessory prayers as well as a partnership, in order that the will of God might be accomplished.
Our projects and plans need, like Paul’s, to be well planned and well prepared. We need to put special emphasis on having them placed before God for his approval. This will ensure that his will is done – not ours!
It is not known for certain whether Paul’s project for visiting Spain ever materialized or not. However, we do know that God led him to Rome three or four years later. This trip was not without numerous detours and unfavourable circumstances. Needless to say, they were not part of Paul’s original plan!
Sometimes our projects for serving the Lord unfold in a similar fashion. Our projects can even develop slowly by stages, sometimes they even turn out to be the exact opposite of what we had envisioned!
Fortunately though, like Paul, we eventually come to the realization that those seemingly negative circumstances and events were actually, in the long run, what led us to accomplish God’s plan.
So then, let’s have confidence in the Lord and let’s entrust our work, plans and projects into his keeping, knowing that he is indeed sovereign and that he is responsible for all results! He alone has the final word.
Lord, Your Word says that men and women make their plans but that it is you, who in the end, finalizes everything by your decision (Proverbs16:1). I want to put my trust in you for whatever I undertake for you. I want to push forward while looking carefully to your leading. I recognize that all results totally belong to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.