I was not a cheerleader in high school. I know – shocking. But I’m trying to be one today.
I say that because I’ve been reflecting on Romans 16 this past week. Now bear with me – I promise there’s a connection. You know…Romans 16. That chapter that caps off one of the most theologically in depth treatises on the gospel ever, with…a really long list of names…yeah you read that right:
Paul finishes his letter to Romans, perhaps the most celebrated book in the entire Bible with a list of names.
Now be honest, if you’re like me, when you come to Romans 16 after an incredible time studying the book of Romans; you probably approach it with all the vigor and in-depth study of the previous 15 chapters, right? Yeah me neither.
Most of us look at this list much like a genealogical list in the OT; with about as much vigor and passion as a first grader trying to read the most books in his class to win a trip to the principal’s office for a pizza party (To be fair, no one ever said anything to me about the need for comprehension)…But that’s another story for another time…I digress.
Over the past couple of years I’ve come to appreciate Romans 16 for a lot more than just a list of names. It’s really a testimony of the important role people play in our lives and in our ministries. Spend any time in a church and you know just how many people it takes to make things run well; quite a few actually. The same can be said on the “mission field.” We have countless people praying for us, financially investing in the ministry, and serving alongside of us. People who are all-stars when it comes to ministry! What I appreciate so much about Paul’s list in Romans 16 is that he publicly thanks and praises all of those people who have given their lives to serve God and his Church. More than just a list, I think it’s a great reminder to all of us.
We’d do well to be people who affirm, uphold, and encourage those who have gotten us to the places we are today and those who are killing it when it comes to ministry! Honestly I don’t think I necessarily have the spiritual gift of encouragement, but I sure love those who do. I love being encouraged. I love being told I’m doing a great job. Most people do. Most people (not all), love it more than they love telling others the same things. And just because I may not have that gift doesn’t mean I’m off the hook. This week I was reminded once again of how important it is to call out those who are doing it; those who are serving and loving people like Jesus; those who have helped us; who’ve sacrificed for us.
want need to be like Paul, put on my cheerleader’s outfit, get out my megaphone and be someone’s cheerleader. People need it. I’d encourage you to do the same. Paul clearly valued people. Jesus sure did. I must.
So, who’s on your Romans 16 list? Who are you cheering on? Let them know. Tell them. Tell others about them.