"Now how can [the outsiders] call on one in whom they have never believed? How can they believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how can they hear unless someone proclaims him? And who will go to tell them unless he is sent? As the scripture puts it: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’" (Romans 10:14,15)
If you're into this kind of thing, what Paul just gave us is a descending deductive chain argument, where true premises link with each other toward a clear, logical conclusion. And I call it a "descending" deductive chain because it starts at the whole and descends to the level of the individual. Take a look at how it would read if he'd taken it in the reverse, ascending order:
Unless someone is sent, then they will not go, and nothing will be proclaimed, no one will hear, and none will believe or ever call on Jesus.
But let's flip that into the positive, shall we?
If one is sent, and goes, and proclaims, then others will hear, and believe, and call on Jesus.
So let's get down to brass tacks. Who are the ones whose "beautiful feet" are meant to bear the "glad tidings of good things," ie. Who has already been sent? (I'll give you a hint: They were looking at you in the mirror, this morning, while you brushed your teeth.)
You are a "sent" one - an apostle - and it's your beautiful feet that are called to carry forth the Gospel today. If you go, in the Spirit and Way of Jesus, your proclamation will be the actual way that others get to hear. And if they hear - and when they get to see it be true in your life today - there is a wonderful chance they'll believe. That they'll say yes for themselves and call on His name...
Let's let Him do His thing, in us, and through us today!
In The Confessions, Augustine of Hippo will occasionally break out into spontaneous, lovely, uplifting prayers of personal gratitude. I so appreciate his modeling of how, right in the midst of telling a story, one may turn aside to a separate conversation with Heaven. Isn't that how we want to learn to live?
Here are a couple of my favorites of those:
"You are there to free us from the misery of error which leads us astray, to set us on your own path and to comfort us by saying, ‘Run on, for I shall hold you up. I shall lead you and carry you on to the end.’"
"Come, O Lord, and stir our hearts. Call us back to yourself. Kindle your fire in us and carry us away. Let us scent your fragrance and taste your sweetness. Let us love you and hasten to your side."
This week, for myself and you, I pray we run along His path, letting Him hold us up, being led by Him and carried by Him toward His own ends. And, as we live each day, that He'd personally stir our hearts: drawing us nearer, kindling a heavenly fire, giving us scents and tastes of Himself. Friends, let's use these days - fleeting as they are! - to learn to love Him more and to hasten into more experience of His nearness.