Put Your Name In
I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant… Romans 16:1 (NKJV)
As Paul begins to bring this letter to the Church of Rome to a close, he does something interesting. In putting his finishing touches on the epistle, he includes a series of personal greetings, beginning with a woman named Phoebe who he describes as a servant.
"What's so interesting about that?" The book of Romans began by delving into some of the deepest doctrinal truths imaginable. As a document or treatise, Romans is really unrivaled in terms of its profound substance. And yet, as if to keep this lofty piece of literature grounded in reality, it ends with a series of names like Phoebe, Pricilla, Aquila, Mary, Junia, and Julia, and many others.
This reminds us that at the end of the day, after all these deep doctrines have been unpacked and explained, actual people are an indispensable part of our faith. Yes, Christianity is theological and philosophical, yet it's also personal. It includes and impacts actual people, people with names and roles that are rooted in real life.
Here's why we need to know this: so often we can distance ourselves from the things we read about in God's Word. Without even realizing it, we can view it as somebody else's thing that doesn't fully belong to us. But it isn't. The Christian faith belongs to us just as much as it belongs to Phoebe, Pricilla, Aquila, Mary, Junia, and Julia. Ours is a personal faith, applicable to real people, and we're the people that comprise it.
God doesn't want His truths to be carved in stone or on monuments. He wants them to be etched in hearts of actual people, people with names like Howard, Harriet, Lee, Luann, Brian, Bernice, Albert, Angie…you get the idea.
So go ahead and put your name in that list too, because the truths of Romans and the rest of God's Word pertain to you—just as much as anyone else!
Think about it…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?