Summary: Sometimes we go through life and we never show the proper appreciation for each other, especially those of the household of FAITH.
“All In The Family”
Text: Romans, chapter 16
Do you remember when you were a senior in high school? Graduation was coming, and in the spring of the year we got our last school yearbook.
One of the traditions in school was signing each other’s yearbook. Some of the things we wrote were funny and might include allusions to events shared by friends—unique between those two individuals.
Sometimes we just wrote that we enjoyed knowing the other person, enjoyed going to school with them, and wished them the best in the future.
We wanted to sign those books—especially the “senior” book—because we wanted them to know how special they were to us. We wanted them to always know how grateful we were that we had been able to share our lives with each other. With some perhaps, we were more grateful than with others.
Lucy asks Charlie Brown to help her with homework. “I’ll be eternally grateful”, she promises.
Charlie: “Fair enough. I’ve never had anyone be eternally grateful before”, replies Charlie. “Just subtract 4 from 10 to figure out how many apples the farmer had left.”
Lucy: “That’s it???? That’s it?!?!?! I have to be eternally grateful for that? I was robbed ! I can’t be eternally grateful for this! It’s just too easy!!!”
Charlie: With a blank stare, Charlie replies, “Well, whatever you think is fair.”
Lucy: “How about if I just say ‘thanks, Bro?’, asks Lucy.
As Charlie leaves to go outside, he meets Linus.
Linus: “Where’ve you been, Charlie Brown?”
Charlie: “Helping Lucy with her homework.”
Linus: “Well, I hope she appreciated it!”
Charlie answers: “Yeah…at a greatly reduced price!”
Are there times when we should be eternally grateful to people we know? Sometimes the Church brings us together with a lot of different people. Some of these people might be “here I am” people and others might be “there you are” people. Whichever, they are all special to us.
I ran across this little ditty that talks about why people come to Church—
“Some go to Church to laugh and talk,
And some go there to walk the “walk”.
Some go to Church to meet a friend,
And some go there an hour to spend.
Some go to Church to find a bride,
And some go there a fault to hide.
Some go to Church to celebrate,
And some go there to agitate.
Some go to Church to doze and nod,
But the wise go there to worship God.
When we assemble to worship, there are really 2 aspects to that worship. We worship “vertically”—that is when we go to God with songs and prayer. We also worship “horizontally”—and that’s when we reach out in “fellowship” with those around us. As a congregation, we develop into a “family”, and we care for one another.
This idea of caring for “one another” was very important to the apostle Paul. If we went back through the book of Romans and counted how many times Paul used that phrase—“one another”—it would be very apparent to us. Yes, after reading Romans, chapter 16, it’s very clear how Paul felt about “his” people.
If we were able to go back and watch Paul as he was writing this chapter—or actually dictating to Tacitus, who was doing the actual writing—we would probably see the scars on his hands and face. The scars resulted from his being beaten by angry mobs or city Authorities, and as we watch, Paul began speaking about his life.
If we could do this, I believe we would see the passion Paul had for the people he encountered on his journeys and the intimate relationships he had with each of them. Perhaps it would be a little like 2 old soldiers from WWII getting together or writing to each other about the war. They might tell old war stories and ask each other, “Do you remember the time when we…?”
You see, Paul was passionate about his “family”, because in his life, that family changed. Paul had a family before he was converted—and he had friends in his “old life”. Paul’s “old life” was lived under the “Law”, and he excelled and rose above others of his age.
However, when Paul chose the resurrected Christ, when he chose to follow the will of God for his life, Paul lost his family and friends. In fact, many of them set out to kill him, because he became a Christian.
Life in Christ brings us new things, and for Paul, it brought a “new family”, and extended family that grew through very perilous times. This “new family” was made up of people with whom you have “fought the battles”—people who have been there with you and have helped in the creation of the “new you”. Paul says, “I thank God for every remembrance of you.”