In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece.
This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped.
My text has been, Those who were never told of him - they'll see him! Those who've never heard of him - they'll get the message!
And that's why it has taken me so long to finally get around to coming to you.
But now that there is no more pioneering work to be done in these parts, and since I have looked forward to seeing you for many years,
I'm planning my visit. I'm headed for Spain, and expect to stop off on the way to enjoy a good visit with you, and eventually have you send me off with God's blessing.
First, though, I'm going to Jerusalem to deliver a relief offering to the Christians there.
The Greeks - all the way from the Macedonians in the north to the Achaians in the south - decided they wanted to take up a collection for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem.
They were happy to do this, but it was also their duty. Seeing that they got in on all the spiritual gifts that flowed out of the Jerusalem community so generously, it is only right that they do what they can to relieve their poverty.
As soon as I have done this - personally handed over this "fruit basket" - I'm off to Spain, with a stopover with you in Rome.
My hope is that my visit with you is going to be one of Christ's more extravagant blessings.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)