Fellowservants

Romans 16:8-12
Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.  Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.  Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.  Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.  Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. 

There are a few things evident in the complete list of people that Paul includes at the end of his writings to the Romans.  First is his obvious affection for these people, the brotherly love that comes from serving alongside one another for the cause of Christ.  And those relationships were meaningful and valuable to Paul.   These people meant something to him, and they held a special place in his heart.  The bonds that are forged in our service to the Lord can be some of the strongest we’ll ever have.  Some of the most meaningful relationships we’ll have in our lives will be these fellowlaborers.

Secondly, they were all serving the Lord together.  They had that shared purpose of laboring for the cause of Christ.  They were helping each other, helping Paul, helping churches.  They were united in their love and service for Jesus, and with Him at the center, more people would come on board, and their reach would extend even further.  In the midst of our ministry, our church, our service, we can’t lose sight of that overarching purpose to exalt Jesus Christ, to spread His Gospel, and to help others.

Paul mentions in this list a wide variety of people—men and women, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, people from many different places and walks of life.  But for all of them, it was their shared faith in Christ that mattered.  Not everyone is a Paul, a leader, teacher, preacher, missionary, and all that Paul was.  Not everyone’s name will be well-known.  Not everyone will have such a far-reaching impact.  But each of our parts is still important.  Our faithfulness is still important.  Our little bit is necessary and useable for the overall cause of Christ.

No matter who we are, what we have, or what position we may hold, we can all be united in that brotherly love of fellowservants and that noble purpose of serving our Lord.  Being believers in Christ gives us a shared bond with those who serve Him near and far.  But then, personally, we could probably all make a list like Paul did of those who mean something special to us, those who have impacted our lives and helped us and served with us, those with whom we’ve developed meaningful and lifelong relationships.  So let us thank God for them and thank them for being faithful friends.

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