The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, August 21, 2023, was written by Wayne Greenawalt of Illinois.
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, 2 so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well. 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, 4 and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my relative Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
Romans 16:1-15 NRSV
My good Friend's health is declining. He has experienced two episodes of heart failure, and another occurrence could end his life. He is a member of a church where I once served as pastor. Knowing I will be asked to pay tribute to him at his funeral, I began to ponder his many admirable qualities. As I was organizing my thoughts, I was struck by the incongruity in my thinking. Why was I waiting until my friend's funeral to honor him? It would be far better to express my appreciation now so that he can be encouraged and blessed. So, I wrote him a letter and received an appreciative response.
The apostle Paul was not hesitant to express appreciation for his co-laborers in Christ. In the final chapter of his letter to the Romans, he greets no fewer than 28 individuals. He mentions many by name, as well as the contribution they were making to his ministry and the cause of Christ. I'm sure they were heartened by Paul's commendation. To remain faithful, we need the support of other believers. We all need words of appreciation now, not just accolades after we die. May God's Spirit guide us to someone who needs encouragement today.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
Recently, I participated in the funeral service for a member of my former church. As I listened to the tributes and celebration of her 104 years of life, I remembered my many fond memories as well. We all have people in our lives that have shaped, molded, and inspired us, Wayne's reflection encourages us to share with them their impact on our lives while they are still with us. May we all make time to share with someone who has been monumental in our lives, how much they have influenced the people we have become.
Lord God, help us to be encouragers for our friends by showing them your love in our words and actions. Amen.