READING: Psalms 97-99 Romans 16
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
The family of God is so unique! Somehow, God takes people from different backgrounds and makes us one – so united that, in some cases, we are closer to our believing brothers and sisters than we are to our non-believing family of origin. In that sense, “brother” and “sister” are much more than titles; they are terms that describe genuine relationships. God’s grace is so great that He not only saves us, but He gives us a family who supports us, challenges us, prays for us, and works beside us.
The final chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans illustrates this truth. In his conclusion, Paul sent greetings to believers in Rome. It is not clear how he knew each of the believers, but he ended his letter by greeting several of them personally and specifically. Whether it was Prisca and Aquila who “risked their own necks” for Paul; Epaenetus, “the first convert to Christ from Asia”; Urbanus, Paul’s “coworker in Christ”; Tryphaena and Tryphosa, “who have worked hard in the Lord,” or any of several others, these believers apparently brought Paul great encouragement (Rom. 16:3-15). Every one of them seemingly influenced him in a positive way.
Interestingly, some of the people listed in this chapter are not named elsewhere in the New Testament. They apparently were not widely known to men, but they mattered to Paul and even more so to God. They were hard workers who contributed to the work of God and brought joy to the apostle. Men and women, married and single, named and unnamed, parent and child, Jew and non-Jew – all were part of Paul’s Christian family, and he wanted all of them greeted with the customary “holy kiss” (Rom. 16:16).
I wonder today how many names I could include in such a list if I were to write a letter based on my ministry. I’ve been doing this work for over three decades now, so I could list many, many names. What I love about that truth is that most, if not all, of them would never want to be recognized. They would want the name of Jesus known—not theirs.
- Think about some of the names of people you would put on your list of faithful workers.
- Give thanks to God for those persons who have influenced you.
PRAYER: “God, I am so thankful for faithful men and women who’ve helped me fulfill my responsibilities as a man of God. Thank You for saving all of us and then connecting us through Your sovereign plan.’”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 100-102, 1 Corinthians 1