1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.
11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. Rom. 16:1-16
There are people, and these are mostly men, who believe that a father’s main task is to bring children into the world; in other words, to reproduce. The minute he brings a child into the world, this type of man begins preparing for his next major assignment – to bring in another child.
Another group of men – and these are the ones in the majority – consider their job done once they have provided for their families. In fact, most men feel a great sense of accomplishment if they can do this. After they have provided for their families, they go gallivanting.
Nothing is wrong with doing either of these things, minus the gallivanting, of course. As a matter of fact, producing children and putting food on the table for your family are things that are extremely important. But there is another aspect of fatherhood which makes these two to fade into near-oblivion. This facet of fatherhood is… relationships. A father might as well not be a father if he has no relationship with his children.
But, again, there are fathers who fail miserably in their relationships with their children. They have relationships with their children all right, but they only know how to scold their children and to tell them how awful and incompetent they are. They have not one good word to say to their children.
But Paul was not like that. Paul was a true father. Paul loved the children he had begotten in the Spirit – God’s people. This was because he was a man of relationships. The Apostle Paul was all about relationships.
I cannot contemplate the price that Paul paid to have the kind of relationships that he had with the people that he ministered to. It was born of love – the epitome of love.
We see here that Paul took time to know the people he ministered to. Apparently, when he went to the churches, he did not stay in hotels or guests houses. He lived with and among God’s people. He interacted closely with them. He wove his life together with theirs. He wanted to and he came to know them, and he became a part of them. Paul got to know their littlest problem – and their every trait. In that way Paul became a true father to the churches.
[Below: Allow me to introduce to you my super-special friend, Jemimah. I have many super-special friends; but Jemimah just has got to be extra-super-special. I got to know Jemimah through her grandfather, who is one of our pastors here in Singida. Jemimah’s looks are worth a thousand words and, despite her cool demeanor in these photos, she is as lively as they come]