Letters of Commendation
We cannot lift a large sofa by ourselves. Some items are too big to lift without help. How often do we fail because we do not ask for God’s help? Or the help of a fellow believer?
In Romans 16, we see how Jesus Christ glues many diverse members into one body. He molds them into a unified whole. Paul knew all thirty-five believers mentioned in the chapter. He made friends while he won souls. He appreciated his friends in the Lord. He was not embarrassed to say so.
Others in our church should not be strangers to us. They certainly shouldn’t be rivals. It matters. Most people who visit a church are looking for warmth more than light. If they experience the warmth, they are far more likely to stick around until they see the light.
God uses people who make friends. We make friends by being a friend. We do not have to get people to like us. We love people by becoming interested in them. We ask them lots of questions. We let them talk about what matters to them.
We cannot affect people long distance. Love in Christ is the epoxy glue that holds us together. We are part of God’s family. Above all people on earth, we ought to love one another. Our job description includes regularly encouraging other believers to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Add to that, winning unbelieving friends to ourselves so we can later win them to Christ and His church. Doing both maximizes the impact of our lives.
Romans 16 is not a boring description of strangers. We can find there a blueprint to help us relate to our fellow believers. I challenge you to write a note of commendation to one or more believers who have had an impact on your life. Tell them specifically what you appreciate about them.
Those who have helped you will probably fit one or more of four descriptions. Who works hard in the Lord? Phoebe was such a person (verses 1–2). She showed mercy to the poor, the sick, and the desolate. Priscilla and Aquila greatly helped Paul’s ministry in Corinth and Ephesus. As the chapter progresses, Paul commended many others who labored to exhaustion in the Lord.
Who has instructed you in the basics of the faith? In a world bristling with false teachers who serve their own appetites, those who ground us in God’s truth are precious and worthy of commendation.
Who promotes peace among believers? Every church has Satan’s instruments of discord and God’s instruments of peace. Avoid the former. Commend the latter.
Who isn’t ashamed to talk about Jesus Christ? Such people help us move from darkness to light. From immature to mature believers. What believers who have touched your life for Jesus will you commend?
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