One who is worthy of honor ...

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me. Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. ... Greet each other in Christian love. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings. -Romans 16:1-4,16 NLT

I love how Paul singles out several women in Rome as he commends Phoebe to them. I think that it is sad how some religious groups have rejected the ministry of women using the words of Paul to disenfranchise them. Interesting to note that this discrimination does not exist in the Kingdom of God. Even those who reject women in "church" leadership accept their leadership in the corporate world. Women like Phoebe must be honored in every part of God's Kingdom.

As Paul ends his letter to the Romans he mentions many by name - in between verses four and sixteen he mentions dozens. This speaks to me of how close Paul's relationship to these Romans was. He speaks of Jews who were in prison with him and he greets several house churches. He mentions hard workers and people who even risked their lives for him. This fellowship that he has with them seems so alien to the ones that I have often encountered at churches.

Help us Lord to know how to acknowledge and bless the ones who have meant so much in our spiritual life.

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