By Not Known
Church families come in different sizes and shapes. Some are in families of a married couple with children and perhaps grandparents on the scene. Others are married with no children. Some are single and living at home and others by themselves or in shared accommodation. Some were once married but are now separated, divorced or widowed.
It’s important for the church to welcome all these different shaped families, to care for them and to make space for them.
Today’s Bible focus is on Romans 16. At first glance this appears to be a relatively insignificant list of Paul’s friends and contacts in the Roman church. But it’s worth digging deeper. It reveals different shaped families in the Roman Church.
Many important women are mentioned and some appear to be single. For example, Phoebe (vs 1-2) carried the letter to Rome for Paul and is described as a ‘great help‘ to many. The word used suggests that she was a person of considerable ‘means‘, independence and significance – and properly a ‘patron‘ of her home church.
Some Roman Christians came from spiritually mixed families, just like many of us. For example, some in the household of Narcissus (vs 11) seem to be Christians and others not.
Among the married couples, Priscilla and Aquila are prominent (vs 3- 4). They are mentioned several times in the Bible (Acts 18: 1- 3, 18- 28; 1 Cor. 16: 19; 2 Tim. 4: 19). They hosted a church in their home, cared for Paul and re-trained Apollos.
All these different family units served with the ‘shape‘ God gave them. This service varied from the prominent roles of Phoebe, Priscilla and Aquila to the writing skills of Tertius (vs 22) and the motherly care of another (vs 13), with yet others being mentioned for outstanding and hard work (vs 7, 12)
What is your family ‘shape‘? Perhaps we can all find someone in the Rom 16 list that is like us. Again, how can you serve God from your family ‘shape‘? Each of our families have a unique profile and each can use it to serve God in a unique way. Let’s all thank God for the ‘shape’ we are and ask how we can use it to serve him and his gospel.