In the verses surrounding our text here, Paul defines a main purpose of his prayers for the Christians at Rome, that he might see them personally. Face to face time is most always better than letters or anything else: communication is good, but companionship is better. Discipleship happens best person to person, not person to program. Paul wanted to see them and live as a light before them (Philippians 2:15). Is it better to learn from the manual or learn from the man? The Bible is more than the Owner’s manual; it is how we meet with God himself (John 5:39). It is about more than principles; it is about a Person.
Paul is determined to see them that he might be able to help strengthen their faith, but it is not only that Paul will give, but also receive from them.
Our faith is strengthened within the company of other saints. You may live as a virtual outsider from God’s people and wonder why you keep falling down, or wonder why the Bible seems so dry, or wonder why your faith just doesn’t seem as real anymore, or wonder why all you see is hypocrisy; you need fellowship to see that the plank in your eye makes you see everything as having a plank in it. We see our problems in the context of our community; then we can change.
(2 Corinthians 1:4) You need the comfort of others and you need to give comfort to others. The lone ranger’s are wrong; you do need church, but even if you didn’t, the church needs you.
Take the time to invest in someone others miss (James 2:8-9). Ephesians 5:21 – you should be able to learn from every Christian (1 Corinthians 6:17).
The poorest of the poor in God’s kingdom have something of value for you to receive; it is our pride that hinders us – when Paul says “for you all” he means even sandpaper people have value.
Paul is praying that God will allow him to see the Roman Christians in person so that he could give and receive from their mutual faith (2 Peter 1:1). He was passionate to be with others who have a growing and showing faith. Are you? God wants to guide, guard, and gift you, but you have to be in the lunch line to get fed. Do you want to be escorted, established, and encouraged?
Are we as Paul praying for God to guide us into fellowship with others so that we may be strengthened and comforted by our mutual faith? Do you pray that you will find one reason (person) to go to church, not one reason to stay home? Do you pray for those who don’t make it to church? Do you pray for others to come so that they may be blessed? What is your faith known for?