It’s easy to want to skim through Paul’s opening of Romans 16, and that’s always a reminder to me to slow down. To think I would have missed it, as he gives his greetings.
To Phoebe, a deacon, who was helpful to many … especially Paul. Priscilla and Aquinas, co-workers in ministry, risked their lives for him, host church meetings in their home. Epenetus, a first follower in Asia. The many who worked hard for (Paul’s) benefit. Andronicus and Junia, in prison together. He remembers and greets his co-workers in Christ, people who are Good Guys, hard workers for the Lord, brothers and sisters in God’s family, even one who was like a mom.
These people mattered to Paul, and no doubt their love affected the lives of other people–then and today.
I think of people who’ve walked beside me during (or perhaps shared in) a hardship. Ones who mentored me, like a mother, sisters–examples to follow and imitate. Ones who’ve risked comfort or reputation to stand by me. The ones who’ve opened doors of hospitality. Those who’ve been hard workers in ministry. The cookie bakers, the weed pullers, the ones who stay late after a party to help clean up, the ones who show up with grace at Your prompting. You know, it’s a pretty lengthy list, all of it. A humbling love list. I’m so very thankful.
Lord, thank you for brothers and sisters in Christ who’ve acted as your body here–to carry a burden and lift it, to offer love, to be an advocate for prayer, those people who stand in the gap.