As I said yesterday, I’m sending this week in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. I’ve asked my friend Jon to write a guest commentary for today’s Bible study on Romans 16. I know you’ll be blessed by reading his thoughts.
We left Huntsville, AL, but more significantly our church home at Mayfair, on September 25, 2011 and headed for the unknown in Santa Rosa de Copán. Before we left we had a time to be able to speak to the teens as a group and to the church as a whole and acknowledge those who have loved us and have let us love them, those who have cried with us and those whom we have cried with. We were able to speak to the teens, not only as Huddle Leaders and a deacon, but as friends and co-heirs in the promises of God. We were able to tell them how much we loved them and how much they have changed our lives and our children’s lives. We have been here for 4 1/2 months and in some ways it seems like we got here last weekend and in some ways it seems like it’s been 4 1/2 years.
We spent 9 years at Mayfair working alongside our brothers and sisters there. I vividly remember, and all ways will, the Sunday we announced to the church that we were heading to the mission field and were greeted and hugged on by so many who wanted to encourage us. I wonder what it will look like here when the time comes to return to the states. Who will I be able to acknowledge as my friends? Who will I be able to say was there for me, sustained me with prayer, encouraged me with words or just by their presence? Who will God place in my life that will make it a rich and full life? Who has God placed in your life? Will that person find out in a letter after your life is over? How much richer will your life be if you would be able to say to them – Thank you for being there when … or I was able to get up the next and keep on living because you…? How blest would your children be to know of these friends?
In the last part of this chapter Paul has some words of encouragement and words of warning. I spoke with the teens before we left and I was able to speak to them as one who loved and cared for their souls. I shared some things from my life and challenged them to change those similar things that I saw in their lives. I was able to encourage them with these words “God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called.” What will I say to my brothers and sisters here? What would I say to Rene or Jorge, these men, these these pillars of faith in the church here in Santa Rosa. Will I echo Paul’s sentiments in Ch. 15 v. 13-14? What will I say to the teens that we work with here; these teens in which I see so many characteristics of the teens at Mayfair? I pray that I will be able to leave here encouraging mature active brothers and sisters. I pray that I can write to them and say what Paul says “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you;”
Paul spends his closing remarks to the saints in Rome by acknowledging those who have sustained, helped, lifted him up in prayer, and labored alongside him. He closes with warnings and admonishments of love and faith in Jesus Christ. At first glance this chapter seems to be lumped in with the chapters that contain lists of genealogies or lists of items needed to construct the temple. Basically not a very interesting chapter, but it is and it is a rich chapter because in it Paul praises and acknowledges those who have sustained him through all of his trials. We would all be so lucky to have a list like Paul’s. We would all be so blest to be able to rejoice with the brothers and sisters that labor with us in the vineyard of the Lord when we hear of their obedience to Christ. We are blessed and we do have this list if we would just take a little time to realize just how richly God has blest our lives.
To the saints at Mayfair, “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you, to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen!”