Galatians 2:6-10 6 The influential leaders didn’t add anything to what I was preaching—and whatever they were makes no difference to me, because God doesn’t show favoritism. 7 But on the contrary, they saw that I had been given the responsibility to preach the gospel to the people who aren’t circumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8 The one who empowered Peter to become an apostle to the circumcised empowered me also to be one to the Gentiles.9 James, Cephas, and John, who are considered to be key leaders, shook hands with me and Barnabas as equals when they recognized the grace that was given to me. So it was agreed that we would go to the Gentiles, while they continue to go to the people who were circumcised. 10 They asked only that we would remember the poor, which was certainly something I was willing to do.
Paul is making a case for why and how he is an apostle for Jesus Christ. How would you imagine Paul to be sounding? I still imagine him to be hurt and dumbfounded because the people he worked tirelessly for began to drift away from the faith they found and find new teachings to drift to.
This is one of the reasons I love the book of Galatians. Paul is showing the people of Galatia (and us) that when we truly live for Jesus Christ, we are free! We can live in freedom because we are not tied to the law, but bound to a relationship with the one who created us.
In the passage we’re looking at today, a couple things stand out to me. First the apostles saw in Paul the heart for preaching and reaching to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). The original apostles could have easily said, “No. You weren’t with Jesus when he walked this earth, so you have no right to be preaching his message to the Gentiles.” But they didn’t. They recognized that God was working in Paul and they gave them their blessing and accepted Paul as their own.
There are people we encounter who are working hard for the name of Jesus Christ. We should pray the same message is being taught about Christ and it is not diminished; and we should also see how God is working within the lives of the people we encounter.
Not everyone learns the same way and not everyone will require the same amount of time. In short, there is no set formula to reach people for Christ except “preaching Christ and him crucified.” So because someone may have different methods and strategies, or even going for a new group of people, does not mean they are wrong. God’s Spirit may very well be directing that person in that mission. Our hearts can be open to see Jesus within the workers and we can offer our prayers, support, blessing, etc.
The second thing that stand out to me is the last verse for today, “They asked only that we would remember the poor, which was certainly something I was willing to do.”
The apostles asked Paul to remember the poor. We have so many missions and outreach projects for people in poverty, and we need to continue these because these programs do incredible work for the livelihood of these precious children of God. We also need to remember another kind of poor: being poor in spirit.
This may not seem to make sense to some people, but we need to be in mission and ministry to those who have less than us and those who have more than we do. People in poverty can have an awesome Godly Spirit and demeanor. People who have wealth can have lives and thoughts so far from God.
It is important to remember that all people, in all stations of life, need to hear the message of Jesus Christ. The mission work will look different; but Jesus said to go into all the world. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is mentioned a few times and referenced here in verse 6 “God doesn’t show favoritism.”
The Spirit of God works in many ways and seeks out all people.