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Behind the Scenes

Read Romans 16:1-16 - personal greetings

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, 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.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Romans 16: 1-6 (NRSV)

There are many others who are also listed in this passage.

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

1 Peter 4:10 (NRSV)

Wayne Greenawalt, from Illinois, 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, Wayne 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 named 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 their 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.

Prayer: 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.

Women from the early church including Phoebe and Priscilla.

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