Romans 1:14 – :I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.”
A veteran missionary to the Piro Indians of Peru was being transferred to a new field. We had accompanied her on a final visit and were about to return to our base camp, I recall her wistful look as those Indian believers waved their farewells, and our little boat headed across the lake. Because she had translated the New Testament into the native language, many Piros had received the Savior. She told me that when she had informed them she was being sent to Columbia, they had replied, “We will permit you to go because you no longer owe us; for now we are full, and the people in Columbia are hungry as we used to be.” One of God’s servants had thus discharged her obligation and paid her debt to some formerly unevangelized people.
The debt which the apostle Paul needed to pay, to preach the Gospel to others, was just not his alone. Every Christian is a debtor to a world that needs to hear the good news that Jesus saves. As believers we have only to ponder the marvel of God’s grace in drawing us to Himself to know that it was not alone for our sake. There was nothing in us that deserved the opportunity to hear and believe the Word. What did we have to do with choosing our advantageous place of birth where it was possible for us to receive the Gospel?
Because we are the recipients of His grace, however, we now owe others the same privilege. In our homes, in our neighborhoods, and around the world are people who are “hungry” for the Bread of Life. We are debtors to them! Let us not be guilty of spiritual dishonesty by failing to fulfill our responsibilities!