Reading Paul’s letter to the church in Romans 15 reminds me today that those of us who are strong in the word and in our walk with Jesus have an obligation to set aside our own desires and our own pleasures so we can use our influence and our energy to build up those around us who are weaker in their faith. This means our time, our resources, our patience, and our instruction. Paul stresses that this is what brings unity to the body of Christ and then he makes a giant statement analogy of how the Messiah (Jesus Himself) actually did this for Israel and for the Gentiles when he said in verse 8 “The Messiah became a servant of the uncircumcised on behalf of God’s truth so that the Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy” Jesus was insulted and questioned at literally every word He spoke during His ministry on earth before He was crucified and this was all done by His own chosen people who didn’t recognize Him even with all they knew about scripture. But Jesus continued to lay aside His own will, He was never prideful or offended, but He did know how to turn them on their ear with their attempts to mince words with Him. So, what does the mean for us? It means that we don’t have the right to get offended or impatient when people don’t understand the truth right away. Our job is to help other Christ followers walk out truth with kindness, love and compassion and so much encouragement. It means that sometimes we have to speak the truth about hard or unpopular situations that other Christ-followers find themselves in, and love and care for them without getting our own feelings in the way if they don’t receive it. This is not easy to do but this is exactly what strong leaders are called to do. This is not about us. This is about reaching lost and broken people, so if our own feelings are in the way we will get in the way of the message and keep people from seeing Jesus. If we are willing to lay aside our own feelings and desires, the way God will be able to use us to reach people will be limitless. This only works when we lay our “rights” aside just like Jesus did. He could have set them all straight if He wanted to, but He was there for a purpose, and that purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father to provide salvation to the world. This is why Jesus didn’t just go and do whatever other people wanted Him to do. He was on mission. He let His friend Lazarus die for a few days because He was obedient to God on His mission. He delayed in going to heal a little girl with a fever because He was listening to the Father’s voice and staying on His mission. He only did what the Father told Him to do because He was there for a reason, and He was completely focused on that mission only. Salvation was provided to the entire world because Jesus stayed on mission. Now our mission is to share that truth with the world even of they reject it. Even if they hate us and insult us. Even if they hurt our feelings or God forbid, offend us. Jesus finished His mission and then gave us ours. Our mission is the Great Commission, and it is to “Go and make disciples.” If we stay on mission without being distracted by the responses of people, we will fulfill our purpose and there will be unity in the body of Christ that will actually attract people in the world. We have to get this right in the body of Christ if we really want to reach a lost world. Their salvation depends on it.