The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, June 15, 2022 comes to us from Wayne Greenawalt of Illinois.
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon 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 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 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. Romans 16:1-16 NIV
“Behind The Scenes”
I recently viewed an outstanding theatrical performance. At the end of the show the actors returned to the stage one by one and received a standing ovation. Reading through the playbill following the performance, I came across the names of the production crew and was surprised at the large number of individuals working behind the scenes. But unlike the cast, their photos and stories did not appear in the playbill. They were not applauded for their part in the production, but they were crucial to the success of the play.
Most of us are familiar with the names Peter, Paul, and Timothy from the Bible, whose contributions to the early church were significant. They were leaders; but they were not alone. In Romans 16, Paul names at least 26 people of diverse backgrounds – men, women, Jews, Gentiles, slaves, and prominent citizens – who contributed to the success of the church in various ways. Far from viewing them as unimportant, it is clear that Paul valued them highly. He applauded them for the commitment and hard work. Many of us feel that because we don’t serve as leaders, we can’t make a difference. Not so. Each of us has gifts that can be useful to serve others and thus glorify God.
I can’t begin to recall the number of times I thought that I couldn’t possibly do someone’s job and been very grateful for their service. Certainly, I have felt this response to doctors or lawyers. But, even more often, when I encounter servers in a restaurant, cleaners in any place, clerks or cashiers, those stocking shelves, I feel awed by their work. I know that what they do is actually beyond value, no matter how much they earn doing it. Each of us are gifted by God in particular ways and we are empowered to use those gifts to serve others and glorify God. I invite you to consider the gifts God has given you, and how you have used them to serve others. Are there any other ways that you could use to serve?
O Lord, help us to realize that we are important parts of the body of Christ. Show us ways we can serve others in your name. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
God values the role I play in the body of Christ.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)