At a men's small group meeting last Saturday morning, it was my responsibility to "lead the Bible discussion." I found out the week before that I was being "tagged" to lead the group's gathering for the following Saturday morning.
I thought all week about what we could discuss. I wanted to stay away from the "deep theological issues" (eschatology, pneumatology, etc). I felt that we should think about the "common stuff" in Scriptures that we often whiz right by, without paying much attention to what is there.
Here is the passage I used:
1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
If a church member was writing a letter that would possibly be read many years after it's writing, and your name was mentioned, what would be said about you?
Personally, I think Paul was doing more than just mentioning people who were "co-laborers" in the Gospel. I believe he was pointing out people who were "special" and had much to offer, and had the reputation for being everything a good faithful Christian should be. (We find in other passages where he was not so complimentary towards some folks).
So, now I ask the question: "If a member of your local church were writing a letter to be read to posterity years later, what would they say about you?"