Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Romans 16:1-16 (NRSV)
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my relative Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
What a lot of greetings! Paul certainly wanted everyone to feel the kindness, love, and support of other Christians. This passage actually reminds me of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. We have congregations in many different countries yet we are linked by the love for Christ. We are to make a connection with one another even though we may be different in many ways.
It is interesting that Paul mentioned the church “in their house” for this is the way many of our churches started, especially those in other countries. It is also the way some new congregations are beginning to develop in the United States. People who have issues with the institution of the church might be more likely to attend a Bible study or worship time in someone’s home where they atmosphere is more personal.
Who could use your encouragement and would welcome your support? Maybe a pastor has just moved to a new congregation or there is a new church development in your presbytery. Maybe there is a teacher or other leader who feels that he or she is not making a difference. Let us be like Paul today and greet, pray for, and encourage our fellow Christians.
Dear God, thank you for encouragers like Paul who promote the love that comes from you. Help us to see others in their times of need and to be intentional in our support of them. In thy name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.