Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers 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.
The list of people that the Apostle Paul gives recognition in Romans Chapter sixteen are people who accepted the Lord Jesus as saviour and lived out their lives the best they could. These people served and helped establish the Kingdom of God. We need to know that serving in the shadows of others does not go unnoticed in the eyes of God. Many times we place importance on certain ministry functions that are up there or out there in front where everyone can see. The big stage and those who minister from it are often revered as more special than others. This is so far from the truth and yet people keep falling for the lies of the enemy who consistently points out that what you are doing isn’t much in the Kingdom of God compared to others. Therin is the first problem – comparing ourselves to others. 2Cor. 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they show their ignorance.
A man, who is recorded as Abraham’s servant, covenanted with Abraham to seek out a wife for Isaac whom Abraham and God would approve. Through humble prayer, this servant was led to Rebekah who accepted the arranged offer of marriage with Isaac. This servant served in Abrham’s house, but God used him to make sure the Abrahamic covenant continued. Talk about serving in the shadow of a patriarch and yet the servant’s role in history is profound. Gen. 24:2 Abraham said to his servant, the elder of his household who managed all he owned, “Place your hand under my thigh, 3 “and I will have you swear by the LORD, God of heaven and God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live, 4 “but will go to my land and my family to take a wife for my son Isaac.”
Samuel was a young boy, who served Eli the Prophet of God. Samuel was serving everyone who worked in the temple. Eli’s sons were corrupt and treated the office of ministry with contempt. 1Sam. 2:17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt. They might have held the title of priests, but God used Samuel to bring the word of judgment that exposed all the crimes being committed in the temple. 1Sam. 3:13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Samuel served in the shadow of a prophet and priests who were at best showing up for temple duty and at worst corrupting the representation of God, and yet, Samuel grew in the blessings and favour of the Lord.
Simon of Cyrene was minding his own business coming into town from the country when he was forced to carry the Lord’s cross. Luke 23:26 And when they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, as he was coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. I am speculating here, as I think about the cruel procession Simon came accros when he saw the man, Jesus, struggling under the weight of His cross. Suddenly, a Roman soldier forced Simon to pick up the Lord’s cross and become part of the horrific procession. To the spectators, Simon looked like he was participating in the crucifixion of Jesus, but in reality, by carrying the cross for the Lord, this action was the only grace Jesus experienced for a few moments by having the weight of the world taken off His shoulders. Simon found himself serving by carrying the cross which would also be the way for Simon to receive salvation and deliverance from his sins.
Simon of Cyrene carried the very cross that the curse of mankind’s sins would be nailed to. Do not ever discount the small or sometimes inconvenient things God asks you to do. Rom. 16:6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. All of us who are walking with the Lord, are the result of someone tirelessly doing the things God asked them to do. Whether it was volunteering for kids camp for one summer, or warmly greeting someone at a church assemblies entrance, these services are accumulating to a greater work that only God can see the total result. Rom. 16:9 Greet Urbanus, our coworker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
As the Prophet Zechariah points out, not to despise small beginnings or the things that seem to be small advancements, or little stuff in comparison to the big picture. Zeck. 4:10a Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin. Don’t let the enemy of your soul make you feel less than the king and priest you are in Christ. The devil is so jealous of the position you own in the love of God. Satan boils with hate when God looks at what you do for Him and acknowledges your faithfulness with blessings upon your life. Rom. 16:12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. All these ordinary people whom Paul is acknowledging were people like you and me who decided to serve in the shadows of others. Let us keep doing the work that God asks us to do and give Him praise as we do it. Blessings be upon us all.