What I’m Reading Today: Romans 15 & 16
Several years ago, I went to a presentation done by missionaries from New Zealand at my home church. Most of the information they shared was relatively standard. There was one thing that they said, however, that fascinated me. It fascinated me so much I’ve remember it almost thirty years later!
In talking about their use of the Bible with the indigenous people, they said that one of the indigenous people’s favorite passages was the first seventeen verses of the first chapter in the book of Matthew. Those are the verses that spell out Jesus’ genealogy.
“Why those verses?” someone asked. “Those are verses most of us usually skip over when we read them.”
“They liked those verses,” the missionaries said, “because they showed the indigenous people that God cares so much about humanity that God pays attention to the branches of their families.”
That was a good lesson for me about how some of the details in scripture that seem unimportant can be significant in other ways.
Today’s culminating words from Romans 16 are a good example of this. Paul takes several verses to say hello to a variety of people ranging from Phoebe in verse 1 to Olympus in verse 15.
“And why are those ‘thank you’s’ important?” you might ask.
Because they are reminders that any effective ministry should have lots and lots of people involved.
In my first parish I underestimated the important of that fact and did WAAAYYYYYY too much of the work myself. That approach was wrong. I’m trying to change that and get more people involved early in the ministry at my second church.
That insight can be of help to you in your day to day life as well. You can examine your life and see if you are prone to what I would call a “lone ranger” approach where you do everything by yourself, or if you find ways of reaching out to others and getting them involved as well. Something to think about.
Til next time…