As I was reading this morning I was thinking about the idea of being indebted and of feeling compelled if you will, to spend yourself in telling others about this indebtedness. The apostle Paul said it like this, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to barbarians . . ” (Romans 1:14) Another verse, “. . . you are not your own . . . you were bought with a price . . .” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
What was it that made Paul feel indebted? Indebtedness implies something is owed for something and it was paid by someone other than yourself. Somehow, Paul had been released from a debt, freed and now felt indebted to be “spent” on people, Greeks and barbarians, who could care less about him and who didn’t even realize they needed to be saved. How was it that Paul came to this place? What was he rescued from/freed from that made him feel that indebtedness to others? Hadn’t he always been a religous man, serving God and standing up for what was right? (I’ll answer my own question here) Yes, he lived by and defended the law perfectly (which implies that he should not have any guilt). In fact, he was out on his “mission” to defend God when he met the Lord–when he was struck down and set free! So what was he set free from that made him feel such an indebtedness to Jesus and to others? The only thing I can think of is this–he was freed from his own opinions, his “rules” (the law and his understanding of it–in today’s terms, he was freed from his doctrines.) He was also freed from his “I’m special because I’m a Jew” viewpoint–he began to understand that it wasn’t about being “special” or about belonging to the “true,” “chosen” church. It was and is about the love of God and the individual relationship He desired to have with His children. It was about the fact that while he (Paul) was in the midst of sin, (planning an attack on Jesus’ followers, to shut them down), Christ died for him. When he realized what he’d been doing and Who he was doing it to (the very person he thought he was “defending”), his heart was broken–by unconditional love.
It was the realization of unconditional love that broke my heart as well–like Paul, I was pretty full of myself and sure of being in the truth. Than I was knocked off my high-horse in the midst of my sin (I’m not just using a metaphor here, this is the truth–“holy” people are capable of tremendous sin, and guilt.), and while laying flat on my back, helpless, a hand of love was stretched out to me and I understood for the first time that even though I did not deserve love–I received love. My heart was broken–I was saved by and enslaved to love.
Have you felt the depths of that love? If so, you’ll understand the sense of indebtedness–if not, all I can say is–pray for it. Beware though, there may be a fall from your high-horse and it could hurt–but it’s worth it. 😉