Summary: A sermon on evangelism for people who are not teachers or church leaders from Romans 16:6,12
A large company, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. This new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning on a wall. The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business! The new CEO walked up to the guy leaning against the wall and asked, “How much money do you make a week?” A little surprised, the young fellow looked at him and replied, “I make about $300 a week. Why?” The CEO then handed the guy $1200 in cash and screamed, “Here’s 4 weeks pay, now get out and don’t come back.” Feeling pretty good about himself, the CEO looked around the room and asked, “Does anyone want to tell me what that goof off did here?” From across the room came a voice, “He was the pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”
Tomorrow is Labor Day where many of us get a day off to celebrate our hard work.
In Romans 16 Paul talks about 4 women who worked hard:
“Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.” Romans 16:6, NIV. She toiled, labored, struggled, strived at some laborious activity on behalf of the gospel. Many Mary’s so cannot equate her with the other Mary’s of the NT. This is all we know.
“Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.” Romans 16:12, NIV.
Tryphena and Tryphosa, the similarity of these names indicates that they might be sisters. Some think they may be twins, and that their names would be equivalent to “delicate” and “dainty.” Ironic that women with such names would be praised for their hard work. The nature of their work is not known, we know nothing about them.
Persis- Indicates a woman from Persia. Paul has a personal friendship with her. The nature of her work is not known, but she worked hard at it.
In this list of greetings Paul uses the term worked hard for 4 woman and no men.
From Paul’s instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 we know that these women were not evangelists, elders or deacons. They did not teach in the formal sense.
It is a hard work to be in the ministry of the Word. “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:28, 29, NIV. Also, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” 1 Timothy 5:17, NIV. No, this is not physically strenuous but it is hard work.
However, as I thought about these 4 at what tasks did they work hard to the point of exhaustion? Did they just come to church services and sit in a pew? I don’t think so.
Cannot know with an certainty but we can speculate. Those who are not teaching in the church, and those who are not in a leadership role, think about which of these we can work very hard at doing.