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My Dear Friend

My Dear Friend

04 June 2009

Scripture:

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. 4 In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. 5 Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home. Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person from the province of Asia to become a follower of Christ. (Romans 16:3-5 NLT)

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila… Greet my dear friend Epenetus.” Fifteen times in Romans 16:1-16 Paul writes: “Greet, greetings, say hello, or give my regards to…” He addresses men and women, deacons and apostles, hosts and congregations. He greets 27 people by name or relationship – people with Greek names, Roman names, and Hebrew names.

Paul makes reference to at least five congregations in the Roman church, and his secretary Tertius says that as he is writing this letter, they are guests of Gaius in whose home the church of Corinth meets.

As I read this I was thinking that Paul had a lot of friends in Rome, a city hundreds of miles away that he had never visited – yet. So I realized that Paul was not the only one who traveled. There was a fairly mobile population in the Roman empire at this time.

These were real friends with whom his life was deeply intertwined. They had risked their lives for him, worked with him, been in prison with him, were related to him, were like children to him, had been a foster family to him. What rich relationships!

That’s what I want to characterize my life, my ministry, my memories, and my letters – a wide range of rich relationships, forged in service for Jesus.

Prayer:

Father, Thank you for the emails I’ve received in the past few days from friends in several countries of Africa, from fellow workers and friends in the UK, from brothers and sisters in Christ in Jamaica, friends in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, friends in Saudi Arabia. Please help me effectively use my time, abilities, and energy to continue to develop rich relationships forged in service and love. Amen.

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