The Back Porch

You can find Paul’s friends and God’s heart on the back porch. At the end of the apostle’s letter to the church in Rome he takes time to greet men and women who have marked his life. These are everyday people whose lives could be summed up in the paradoxical phrase, ordinary greatness. Take a moment to read and ponder: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.  Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia.

Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. (Romans 16:1-13 ESV)

The letter to the Romans is the grand treatise on the gospel and the ultimate polemic for justification by faith. And here at the end of what one has called, “the most systematically reasoned of Paul’s letters” are everyday ordinary folks. I think God wants to remind us that the gospel is lived out through people.

I was in New York City yesterday meeting with Jon Tyson and Caleb Clardy of Trinity Grace Church. While there, Jon introduced me to Sue. Sue is responsible for executive administration and vision implementation. As we walked toward his office Jon commented with more than a hint of admiration, “She is the one who makes our church go.” Sue’s faithful daily service to their church is the stuff of ordinary greatness!

Who is sitting on the back porch of your life?

FOCAL POINT: Send out a note of greeting to someone you know who is living a life of ordinary greatness.

Copyright © 2010 Tommy Kiedis