Scripture Read: Romans 16:1-8 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well. 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Application: For most of us, when we read passages such as these, we really kind of skim right past them and not give them much thought. There are a lot of jewels in many of these passages that Your Holy Spirit, Father desires to open our eyes to. I count at least 6 good sermons in this passage alone. The idea of treating someone “in a manner worthy of the saints” brings so much to mind. How is that done, who should be treated that way, etc.? How about “who for my life risked their own necks”? A great subject dealing with love and sacrifice. “Church in their house”; “first convert to Christ from Asia” – the list could go on. Your Word has so much in it Father. The highlight that I am looking at is the simple list of names of servants for the Lord. Except for possibly Prisca and Aquila, which we recognize from Acts, these are all people we have never heard of before. The “Mary” is which one? No way to know this was a common name. I find it interesting that Paul begins with Phoebe- which means “bright and radiant”- how appropriate! In this day of “famous servants” here is a list of people never heard of yet are recorded in the only Book that is eternal! That should effect how we view “success”! We have been sucked into the world’s polluted idea of success – all surface, what it looks like, sounds like and projects itself as. When I was 7 years old JFK was killed. I would look at the pictures of his widow and kids, and other pictures of he and his wife before that fatal day, and I felt so bad that such a great loving couple that was so in love had been broken apart by such a tragedy. As I matured and studied more, and the press had to be honest about the real JFK, I saw through the fake success of that story. Tragic the assassination will always be, murder is always wrong, but that marriage had died years before the bullet hit him. There was no success story in their love - only what they and the press produced for image. Many of our successful heroes today have only this kind of success. The believers in the list Paul gives are successful in Your eyes Father. Though, they are not known, nor ever acquired great wealth or fame their success should be the kind of success we aim for. Dad we want to be on Your list of success stories – the world can have their movies, TV, Books and spotlight – it will all fade. Help us die to that old man every day Lord because He loves this world’s light – which is darkness in Your realm!
* Meditation Questions: When you go unnoticed in your service for Christ, how do you feel? What does that say? When a speaking is thanking all involved for their help, and you are left out, how do you feel? Whenever you do something good, do you make sure people know? How much to you crave the applause of God versus the applause of the world?