The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"One By One By One"
In the closing chapter of the New Testament epistle to the Romans, termed by the poet Coleridge as "the most profound writing in existence," the Apostle Paul becomes intensely personal. He names twenty seven individual believers among the company of Christians in Rome. Here they are, from Romans 16: "Phebe; Acquilla; Priscilla; Epaenetus; Mary; Andronicus; Junius, Amplias; Urbane; Stachys; Apelles; Aristobulus; Herodian; Narcissus; Tryphena; Tryphosa; Persis; Rufus; Asyncritas; Phlegon; Hermas; Patrobus; Hermes; Philologus; Junia; Nereus; Olympus.
I share this to illustrate and emphasize how personal Paul was with the believers to whom he felt responsibility. This reflects the Lord Jesus Christ, who preached to multitudes on occasions, but far more communicated with people as individuals or in small groups (such as His disciples).
"And He turned Him unto His disciples and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see" (Luke 10:23).
I suspect the Lord Jesus never saw a crowd during His earthly lifetime. In even the largest gatherings, He likely looked upon the masses one by one by one. Once, while being thronged, a woman merely touched His garment, but received the full attention of the Savior as He healed her of a longstanding disease (Mark 5:25-34). Such specifically applied grace portrays the love of God that seeks each of us in the most personal terms, first to establish and maintain our own distinctive relationship with Him, and then to empower our viewing others as uniquely constituted and important.
The love of Christ in Paul led him to know, love, and appreciate many brothers and sisters in Rome, a place to where he had yet not traveled at the time of writing the epistle (Romans 1:13). How did the Apostle know all these people? No record exists that answers this question. Perhaps he had met them in other places, and likely had led many of them to faith in the Lord Jesus along the way of his missionary travels. Whatever the case, people mattered to Paul in the most personal sense because the Christ who lived in His heart bears the devotion to people expressed by the writer A.W. Tozer in his discourse on John 3:16. "Everybody matters to God" declared Tozer. They do. And everybody must matter to us as well. They will, as we walk by the leadership and enabling of the Holy Spirit. While we do not have capacity or opportunity to be pointedly personal with everybody, we must nevertheless bear within our hearts the conviction and consecration of "everybody matters." The Holy Spirit will lead us in the light of such love to those with whom He desires us to personally relate. This is the love of Christ revealed in us, the love that never sees a crowd, but rather views all one by one by one.
"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
Weekly Memory Verse
God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.