Bless Our Connection

A few years ago I had the blessing of building a house in my community through Habitat for Humanity. It was a life changing experience to work side-by-side with like-hearted volunteers. Sharing a desire for housing the unhoused with other laborers was a powerful thing.

If you are blessed, you have coworkers, neighbors, or fellow volunteers around you who share a common vision and are willing to roll up their sleeves to get a job done. My church is in the planning stages for this summer’s Vacation Bible School, and it is a wonderful experience of knitting together people’s strengths and abilities as we all focus on bringing Jesus to the kids for a week. The old cliché “Teamwork makes the dream work” really is true.

 Paul was a networker par excellence. He knew how to draw people together to labor for Christ and create a new thing called the church. These folks seem to have had two things in common: first, they loved the Lord so much that they were willing to sacrifice for Christ’s mission. Second, they were ordinary people without rank or distinction, yet their names are immortalized in Scripture. What a wonderful reminder that God can use anyone to build the kingdom. As you read this passage from Paul’s letter to Rome, notice how he greets each person:

Romans 16:3-16

Say hello to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. I’m not the only one who thanks God for them, but all the churches of the Gentiles do the same. Also say hello to the church that meets in their house. Say hello to Epaenetus, my dear friend, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. Say hello to Mary, who has worked very hard for you.

 Say hello to Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners. They are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. Say hello to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. Say hello to Urbanus, our coworker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. 10 Say hello to Apelles, who is tried and true in Christ. Say hello to the members of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Say hello to my relative Herodion. Say hello to the members of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 

12 Say hello to Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who are workers for the Lord. Say hello to my dear friend Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.13 Say hello to Rufus, who is an outstanding believer, along with his mother and mine. 14 Say hello to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. 15 Say hello to Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Say hello to each other with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ say hello to you.

Paul is generous and genuine in his compliments to this group. He understood the value of showing appreciation and respect to his fellow laborers. This is an important part of leading others in ministry. When people aren’t acknowledged for their efforts, they burn out easily and fade away. Good leaders always remember to thank their volunteers. Paul sets a beautiful example of this in today’s reading, by not only mentioning each one by name, but by adding a special mention of that person’s contribution.

Seeing the connection of all these early Christians in Rome reminds me of the power of the connectional nature of the United Methodist Church. We are a worldwide network of faithful communities that band together to labor for the kingdom. Think of the work we do through United Methodist Committee on Relief. UMCOR is a powerful resource for global disasters because of our connection of churches who give money, volunteer for mission teams, donate flood buckets and supplies, and pray. My church received 500 flood buckets for our community after a hurricane, and I can attest to the power of our United Methodist network. Our connection is a strong witness to the world.

Do you need to reach out and show appreciation to someone today? Remember Paul’s example. It built a church.

Teamwork by Kathy Schumacher


  1. Randy Hudson · April 3

    Great devotional Betsy. We have our own Paul here and her name is Cindy, who took a personal tragedy and turned it into a glorious annual November weekend in which 100+ folks celebrate by doing a service project. An amazing experience. Now if you were an agitator like me, but you are an example, you would have pointed out that Paul called and recognized both men and women to spread Gods word. Thanks always for being my example.


    • Betsy · April 3

      Thank you for being my example!! Yes, I love that Paul recognized the work of women. I am so glad you are reading my devotionals, Randy. That blesses me!


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