I have always been fascinated by the greetings to specific people that Paul includes in his epistles.
Far from being an unapproachable theologian and church planter Paul paid attention to the people in his
Even as a type A personality, Paul took the time to encourage, appreciate and acknowledge his friends and colleagues. We find it hard to carve out time for a phone call. He wrote letters and never forgot his colleagues.
A great example of this is found in the personal greetings that Paul ends his letter to the Romans with.
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 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. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
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. Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 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.
Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 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. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.”
Paul knew people and their stories!
Paul’s life was filled with people as ours should be. He cared about them as we should. He took the time to let them know of his love, appreciation, and prayers. He encouraged them and prayed for them. Each one was precious to him. Paul was a theologian and Apostle and he recognized that the gospel is about people, redeeming them and calling them into work for the gospel alongside him. Everyone matters in God's sight.
Paul was not too busy to pay attention to the people in his life.
He was not so consumed with his own concerns that he ignored those who he loved and those who he worked with.
How are you doing with the people in your life? Do you love them as Paul did? Do you pray for them and encourage them as he did? Too often we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to care for those around us. To know their story, to call them to something greater than themselves, to thank them and let them know that they are noticed.
Are there people who you should reach out to today to thank and encourage?
- Communicated with the people was close to
- Acknowledged their contributions
- Encouraged them
- Loved on them