Vs 1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae …
Vs 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus …
Vs 4 who risked their necks for my life …
Vs 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Vs 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners …
Vs 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ …
Vs 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
Vs 17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Vs 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Paul, after a thoroughly theological treatise, gets deeply personal as he wraps up this letter to the Romans.
He doesn’t send out a blanket, “Say ‘Hi’ to everybody for me!”
Paul names specifically whom to acknowledge and why they are to be acknowledged.
In fact, Paul, just in this final chapter, names 36 individuals!
These individuals have “served” and “risked” and “worked” and have even been “fellow prisoners”.
And each of these actions are vitally important.
These actions are important because there is another group of people who are not named individually, but their actions are named.
They “cause division” and “create obstacles” and “serve their own appetites” and “talk smoothly” and “deceive the naïve”.
I read often that our modern culture is experiencing a “loneliness crisis”.
The average number of close friends or relationships continues to drop and even approaches 1 or even zero for many.
This is not how it is to be. This is not how we are designed. We need community.
Paul, even as a frequent and itinerant traveler clearly developed many close relationships.
How did he do this? I think it largely come to this: Mission.
The best relationships are formed through serving together toward the same goal, the same mission.
Yes, God will build His church, but we are His hands and His feet.
Can I count among my nearest and dearest friends those whom I serve with and strive on mission with?
No doubt I can gather good and even enjoyable relationships from work associates.
And I can have a fun time going to a game with acquaintances.
But whom do I “work hard” with? Whom do I “serve” with? Whom do I “risk” with?
Or, perhaps a better question … Do I even “risk”, at all?
Every good mission will entail a risk, a sacrifice.
Do I feel a want or need for more or better relationships? … Perhaps, I should get on mission.
God is at work. … Am I?
Others are at work, as well … “serving their own appetite”. … Am I?
I must choose this day whom I will serve.
Thank you again, God, for Your word.
Help me to see and acknowledge the people You put around me.
May I see them as You see them.
May we serve on mission together for your honor.
Help me avoid those who cause division and create obstacles.
Show me how to be Your hands and feet
In Jesus name