Jump Starts # 2991
Jump Start # 2991
Romans 16:6 “Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.”
Romans sixteen is a bunch of names. Names that are hard to pronounce. Many names that are found only here in the Bible. Within the first sixteen verses there are 29 names. Latin names. Jewish names. Roman names. One-third of the names are women.
Yesterday I preached from this section of the Bible. We remember that not only is all Scripture inspired, but all Scripture is profitable. Passages like this, sections in Ezra, 1 Chronicles, Genesis, even the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, are often scanned over very rapidly by us. Little doctrine here. Little encouragement. Names of people that I do not know.
So many of us around the holiday season watch the same shows year after year. Home Alone. Rudolph. Frosty. Elf. Christmas Carol. White Christmas. Those are my standards. And, there is one that I believe every person ought to be required to watch, “It’s a wonderful life.” You need to see the original black and white version. Yes, there is a lot of talking and not a lot of action. Yes, it’s cheesy and even predictable. Yes, there are some Biblically incorrect ideas in it. But the story line is impressive. Every teen ought to see this movie once in their life, if not every year. It shows the value of lives that have helped others. All of us have that. All of us ought to be that. I keep a folder of the emails and cards that you Jump Start readers have sent to me over the years. There are some mornings that I think it’s time to pull the plug on this little journey we’ve been on, but I’ll get an email just thanking me for something I wrote and how it made a huge difference in that person’s life. And, that’s enough for me to keep going.
Hebrews 11 is God’s hall of fame. It covers the O.T. Heroes. Men of faith and men of courage. Romans 16 is Paul’s hall of fame. People, such as Mary, in our verse today, who has worked hard “for you.” And the accolades are sprinkled heavily throughout these verses. Some risked their necks. Others were fellow workers. Some are called beloved. Some were known as outstanding among the apostles. Men and women of faith. People that we don’t know. You won’t find many books about these people. They are lost to history, but not to eternity, and especially not to God. These are the people who helped Paul be Paul. These people were known to the Romans. Multiple times Paul says, “Greet” them. Get to know them. Paul wants us to know them. God, through inspiration wants us to know them.
Here are some thoughts from all of this:
First, each of us have our own “Hall of Fame,” of people who made a difference in our lives spiritually. We are not talking about sports legends or those who walk the streets of Hollywood. More than coaches, neighbors, teachers, our hall of fame is pointed towards those who have helped us spiritually. We would not be where we are today had it not been for them. For me, it was people who gave me the chance to preach. Little bitty country churches is where I first started. Up early every Sunday and out the door to drive two hours to preach to a dozen folks. I’d preach my heart out. The next Sunday, it was to another small group. Those people were patient, kind and gave me a chance. You have people just like that. Maybe it was getting you to teach a Bible class. Maybe it was showing you how to welcome people. Maybe it was something that we wrote in our Bibles and we never wanted to forget. A thought. A quote. Something in the text that we never saw before. The way someone put Jesus before our eyes. Maybe it was the way someone described Heaven. Maybe a definition of death that immediately took away the fear that we have always had. Maybe it was a group of people that believed in you and allowed you to lead them as a shepherd. Maybe it was the time someone spent when you were discouraged. Maybe a gift that meant so much to you.
God’s hall of fame. Paul’s hall of fame. Your hall of fame. Each of us have such.
Second, if we are walking as we ought to be and busy in the kingdom as God wants us to be, someone will put your name in their hall of fame. You have helped others. You have been there for them. Maybe it was sitting with them in a surgery waiting room. Maybe it was some money that you gave to another when he was at a low point in his life. Maybe it was words you said that they will never forget. Maybe it was your willingness to forgive and forget when they did something wrong. All of us belong in someone’s hall of fame. Our lives intersect and they connect in so many ways.
From this ought to come three simple reminders:
First, we need to be thankful for the wonderful people that God has put in our lives. Quality people of faith that has made us a better person. Thank the Lord and then thank these people in your lives.
Second, seeing where we are because of others, ought to drive us to be that way ourselves. Less about us and more about others. What a joy it is to serve. What a blessing it is to be a blessing to someone else.
Third, we must teach the next generation these values and principles. There is a lot of concern about the new generation entering the work force. Culturally, they haven’t done well. Those without Christ are a real mess. Many can barely work. New business books are promoting the idea of turning the work place into something like the modern sports bar with TV sets everywhere. The authors are declaring that it’s the only way to get this new generation to be productive. No set hours. No dress codes. Little expectations. It seems to be that the business world is caving in and catering to the whines of a young generation. My thoughts are, “Step it up and get to it.” Our teens and our twenties must learn to be counter-cultural today. They need to be servants. They need to be taught how to make a spiritual difference in the lives of others.
Hall of fame. At home, I have some signed baseballs by some Hall of Famers. In my archive room at the building I have some framed original sermons from real heroes. Hall of famers of faith—that’s most important.
And, all of this comes from some names in Romans 16.