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To Those Unnoticed


The Sunday prior to Thanksgiving I selected an obscure yet helpful text for my sermon. The Book of Romans is often referred to as “the gospel according to Paul,” and it is true that his epic work has been among the most influential sections of the New Testament. All the way through the end of chapter 15.

Chapter 16, however, is unfortunately overlooked. It is the New Testament equivalent to the “fly over states” of the upper midwest. In the first 16 verses Paul names 27 anonymous people who are mostly Gentiles and slaves. Ten of the 27 people are women. Only Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. Paul mentions them individually and concisely, with each statement reading like an epitaph on a tombstone.

I could have gone into the detail about the meaning of each name and offered some speculation regarding how these names fit into the puzzle of Paul’s missionary journeys, but I didn’t. I chose to simply point out the obvious and remind our congregation to remember that whatever we have or have achieved in life has come with the help of others, many of whom go unnoticed to the world. Perhaps a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a friend, or a relative have spoken into your life at a critical point which helped to shape you into who you are today.

Each of us stands on the strong shoulders of someone else. Don’t forget to thank God for them. And if they’re still alive, be sure to thank them for the meaningful contributions they have made to you. But don’t stop there. Consider the possibility that you could pass it on to the next generation.

Categories : Thanksgiving

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