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All About the People

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: Start today’s time with the Lord by making a list of 5-7 people that you are thankful for. Take some time to pray and thank God for those who are blessings in your life.

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

2 Chronicles 33:14 - 34:33
Romans 16:10-27
Psalms 26:1-12
Proverbs 20:19

Devotional thought
We’ve spent the last couple of days looking at Hezekiah. Today we are going to move forward a bit and take a look at a portion of the reading that you probably skimmed through (no shame!) Let’s review the list of names in Romans 16. These are specific people that the author, Paul, is grateful for.

In the beginning of this letter to the church in Rome, Paul shares how important the people in the church are to him, and how much he wishes to see them in person (Romans 1:9-10). At the end of the letter, he sums everything up by naming a few special people.

This is significant because there was most likely some tension between those people. The church in Rome had only recently become a diverse group. About 5-7 years earlier the Jewish members of the church had been exiled from Rome due to an edict from the Emperor. Now, those exiled Jews are returning. Blending the Jewish and Gentile cultures into one church was proving to be a challenge. One that Paul addresses in his letter.

With this context in mind, notice that Paul mentions both men and women, Greeks and Jews (even noting a Jew with a decidedly greek name - see Romans 16:11) It is as though Paul is saying “I care about all of you, I value each of you, and I want you to value each other.”

Paul knows something about bringing diverse groups together. He knows that relationships are the best way to build a bridge. Sometimes simply knowing details of cultural differences can provide fuel for division. Knowing people from differing cultural backgrounds creates opportunities for unity.

What applies to me?
Take a look at that list from our mindsetter moment. How does it look compared to Paul’s list? Is there diversity of thought, socioeconomic status, background, or culture? It’s easy to surround ourselves with people who look, think, and believe just like us.

Consider Paul’s list, this variety of friends who he admires, appreciates, and calls “brothers and sisters.” Sometimes we have to step out of our neighborhood, school, and comfort zone to create diverse friendships. Take a step of faith. The value these relationships bring will be worth it.

[10 minutes]
Write it out: Is there someone God has been placing on your heart that you haven’t reached out to because they are out of your comfort zone? Maybe they have beliefs that you don’t agree with, or maybe they run in different circles. Write their names in your journal and commit to praying for them today.  

Pray it out: Take a few minutes to pray for each person on the list you made at the beginning of this devotional and then pray for the people whose names you just added.  

Live it out: Step out of your comfort zone and reach across a divide to make a new friend today.