Day 17: The Right Hand of Fellowship

Galatians 2:7-10 :

but to the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the Good News for the circumcision (for he who appointed Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision appointed me also to the Gentiles); and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcision. They only asked us to remember the poor—which very thing I was also zealous to do.

Here we read that James, Peter, and John all agreed that Jesus had spoken to Paul and that they were behind his work with the Gentiles. We also read that it was Peter’s job to work with the Jews.

Notice how God did the work and man merely recognized and agreed with the direction. Peter didn’t decide that Paul should go to the Gentiles, Jesus did. James, Peter, and John recognized and agreed with what Jesus did.

Also notice, that although they gave Paul a “rule” that he should remember the poor, it was already in Paul’s heart to do it.

Notice that there is no “lord of men” here other than Jesus. Peter is hardly seen as a “Pope” here in this letter. He is merely one of the ones “reputed to be pillars.” Isn’t it wonderful how the leadership came together in agreement. This is also an important thing for us to pay attention to. Leadership isn’t supposed to be at odds. Either the leadership should come together, or it should cleanly spilt apart (along the lines of what is Biblical). Allowing disagreement while looking like things are together is not acceptable. We are to be of one heart and mind in Christianity. That’s another reason why the Bible, the Word of God, is so important. We need to come together behind it.

Lastly, remembering the poor is something that we should be very zealous to do. If we are not remembering, it demonstrates a heart problem. I believe that the Bible indicates that one of the reasons people are poor is because they fail to see the appropriate motivation for work. The Bible teaches us that we should be working in order to have to give to others. The desire to give to others, is a Christian’s proper motivation for working. Paul worked as he preached and it supported his ministry whenever he was able to do it. This is one reason why taxation for things like welfare is troublesome. Aside from the whole point of liberty, government re-distribution leaves the heart of man out of the process of giving. It is so important for a civil society to give from the heart. It is hard to give when the government does it for you and for things you don’t approve. Also, civil giving starts with your own family not the government. Then, God’s people are next… See the problem?