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My Dear Friend

My Dear Friend

04 June 2011

Reading: Proverbs 28-29; Psalm 60; Romans 16

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 had a lot of friends in Rome, a city hundreds of miles away that he had never visited – yet. He had met and formed friendships with these people at other times and in other places. 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!

When I think of our years of service, it’s not the organizations we’ve been involved in or given input to, it’s the people, our friends, who come to mind. It’s not just memories of preaching and teaching to a group in a hall, it’s conversations over tea or coffee, meals together, prayers, shared tears and laughter, the give and take of friendship!

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, texts, and Facebook messages I’ve received recently from friends in Africa, from friends and fellow workers in the UK, from brothers and sisters in Christ in Jamaica, friends in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia. Thank you for the real personal relationships, the friendships, that you’ve allowed Jean and me to form through the years and around the world. Please help me effectively use my time, abilities, and energy to continue to develop rich relationships forged in service for you and love for each other. Amen.

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