Saturday

... or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (v. 12)

Romans 1:1-17 Saturday 4 January 2020

Psalm: Psalm 98:4-9

Background

Paul opens his letter to the church in Rome by spelling out his credentials. It is something Paul does often in the opening of his letters and here, as much as anywhere, it is important. This is because Paul hasn’t actually been to Rome at this point and so he is writing to a group of people who may only know him by reputation. This is his chance to introduce himself to this community of faith at the heart of the empire and so he sets out his calling and credentials. The few times I have filled out the stationing profile I have felt a little like Paul, trying to affirm my gifts and skills to potential readers, hoping that what I write will make sense to those who receive the profile.

After the opening introductions, Paul shares that he longs to meet the church to share with them spiritual gifts and so that they may encourage each other in the faith. I love this line. Paul wants to be there so he can encourage them but also so that he can be encouraged. A meeting to inspire and spark each others faith in Jesus Christ.

It can sometimes feel a little flat when we gather together as sisters and brothers in Christ. We go through the motions of what we feel we need to do together and then leave and go about the rest of our day. What if we sort to encourage one another every time we got together? To tell stories of what God was doing in the world, to lift each other up in prayer and to send one another out uplifted and blessed? I believe this is what Paul desires to do. For now though he has to encourage and inspire their faith through his letters until he can be with them.

 

To Ponder:

  • What would you write as your Christian credentials by way of introduction?
  • What makes a meeting or gathering inspirational? How can we make every meeting, service or gathering a time of blessing and encouragement?
  • Write an email or letter of encouragement to anyone you know working overseas.
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