16 I would like you to welcome our sister Phoebe. She is a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her as one who belongs to the Lord. Receive her in the way God’s people should. Give her any help she may need from you. She has been a great help to many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila. They work together with me in serving Christ Jesus. 4 They have put their lives in danger for me. I am thankful for them. So are all the Gentile churches. 5 Greet also the church that meets in the house of Priscilla and Aquila. Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person in Asia Minor to become a believer in Christ. 6 Greet Mary. She worked very hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews. They have been in prison with me. They are leaders among the apostles. They became believers in Christ before I did. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus. He works together with me in serving Christ. And greet my dear friend Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles. He remained faithful to Christ even when he was tested. Greet those who live in the house of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet the believers who live in the house of Narcissus. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa. Those women work hard for the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis. She is another woman who has worked very hard for the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus. He is a chosen believer in the Lord. And greet his mother. She has been like a mother to me too. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon and Hermes. Greet Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister. Greet Olympas and all of the Lord’s people who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send their greetings.
What stands out to me in reading these letters, are the attributes Paul gives to his friends. These attributes include being helpful to many, risking their lives, pioneering faith, and working hard for God. Paul writes to people with a range of backgrounds and focuses on the strengths of their faith walks. He takes the time to acknowledge the specific blessings and encouragement he has received from those around him.
This challenges me to think about the ways that I acknowledge my brothers and sisters in Christ around me. Speaking such words of encouragement and appreciation is so important, and I’m reminded to take the time to do so regularly.
God, I thank You for placing us in community with one another. Please help me to acknowledge those in my life, and show gratitude for their giftings. In Jesus’ name.
Written by Laura Samperi