IN AND THROUGH COMMUNITY
Father, today I am reminded of your patience and grace with me. Your love never lets me go, never lets me down, always lifts me up.
Read Romans 16:1–16
16 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon[a][b] of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.
3 Greet Priscilla[c] and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among[d] the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.
9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
10 Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.
Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.
11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew.
Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.
Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.
14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them.
15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ send greetings.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPaul identifies 26 people by name. For whom in your church or networks would you choose to give thanks today?
Having given reasons why they should accept him, Paul seeks common ground with those in Rome. While he praises those in their number who have come to his attention (vs 6,12,14,15), Paul strongly emphasizes his personal relationship and shared ministry experience with many others (vs 3–5,7–11,12b). Paul is essentially asking those who don’t know him to speak to those who do. He’s asking them to give him a five-star review.
This passage reminds us that, regardless of how gifted an individual may be, mission and ministry are always done in and through community. Although there’s much debate as to how formalized their roles were, at the very least, we need to note the significant involvement of so many women here being named without embarrassment as leaders in the church in Rome.
Paul reminds us that the church and its mission is a people business. Relationships and the growing of people in their faith, gifts and ministries is at the heart of any healthy church. Even as they’re grappling with the tension between the strong and the weak, the picture we have here is of five household churches (vs 5,10,11,14,15) that are vibrantly alive.
Romans 12:3–8 reminds us that mission and ministry happen through community. How engaged are you in both through church?
Heavenly Father, you are the creator of the world in which I live and founder of the church in which I serve. Use your church to extend your kingdom around the world.
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