I’ve been roaming through Romans (ha!) and finally finished today. The chapters about doing good and serving each other hit me between the eyes this time. How do we put that into action in our time?
Romans 16 concludes the book. Paul takes an entire chapter to send greetings to his friends and introduce his Roman readers to others. He lists 25 people by name in this chapter. Everyone from Aristobulus to Urbanus gets a mention. He commends them for their work. He offers respect to those who were in the faith even before he was. He calls out their helpfulness.
I commend to you our dear sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcoem her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people…Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus…Greet my dear friend Epenetus…Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit….
I can’t even begin to pronounce some of the names. Apelles? Asyncritus? Phlegon? On first glance, their names resemble medications.
Generally, I skim these verses. They seem unnecessary to us modern-day believers. These people are long gone and they hardly matter. Or do they?
What if we greeted and treated people this way, today, now?
Greet Cybil (completely fictional), who toils at her low-paying job, interacting with the public daily, keeping a smile on her face and a good attitude.
Greet Tom as he rises daily with acute physical challenges he shares with no one. He keeps on keeping on.
Greet Mary, mother of 6 children, who has managed to touch, love and change not only her own brood but several others in amazing ways.
Greet the worn-out caregiver sandwiched between aging, failing parents and their growing, maturing family. Greet the lawyer, accountant, and professors who share their knowledge, expertise and time with such enthusiasm, helping others learn and achieve their goals.
Most of the folks in chapter 16 of Romans we never hear of again. Paul saw them and what they accomplished, even if no one else did. Their wealth or social rank mattered little. Their hearts and service to the Lord and His people were everything. Now, they are probably in the “household of faith” in heaven.
Some sacrifices and services no one but God sees. Yet, He does see and He does appreciate it. You have gifts to share.
Thank you for all you do to serve others and bring joy to this world. Your contribution counts.