As Paul introduced Phoebe, Julia, Rufus, Mary, Priscilla, Aquila and others in this week’s text (Romans 16:1-16), he also shared how he knew them and highlighted their strengths. Paul lifted them up and created connections, adding value to the work they had done. Reading these verses brought to mind one of the texts that serves me well in my professional life:
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another . . . Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
As a child when someone asked me what I would like for a present I would ask for a dot-to-dot book. I loved following the numbers and connecting lines that turned into something I could have never drawn freehand. It was fun to see what I had created, trying to figure it out along the way.
Now decades later in my professional life I am still ‘playing dot-to-dot,’ making connections and trying to figure it out along the way. The dots represent people all over the world who are doing incredible acts of love and good works. My joy-filled job with the Mentors Foundation is to get to know them, provide financial support, and find ways for them to meet and encourage one another.
I have had the pleasure of connecting Orock, United Action for Children in Cameroon, a remarkable agribusiness and entrepreneurship program for children and young people, with Kim and Ciara in Las Vegas who created Green Our Planet, the best school garden program in the US; Adam and Strategic Kids in Orange County with Isaac and Debate Kansas City; Esther, Lapid Leaders, a leadership and entrepreneurship program for young Africans in Kenya with Kelly Ross, ECHO Collective in Lincoln, empowering refugee and immigrant women with entrepreneurship resources. The remarkable work they, and so many other Mentors recipients are doing positively impacts countless people. By connecting with others, their impact grows exponentially.
With every connection is the reminder from Hebrews 10:24, “and let is not neglect our meeting together.” Connecting with one another is an intentional act that requires making it a priority. It involves, as Paul did with Phoebe and many others, making introductions, lifting up one another’s gifts and graces and committing to finding ways to motivate one another. Making connections is something we can all do, as we work to be an instrument of God’s peace.
Questions For Reflection:
This week, think about the people in your life. Who could be connected in such a way that would lift up their gifts and graces? Find ways to encourage others. See them in a new light and experience a brighter world.
Who played a role in connecting you with someone that made your life better?
What strengths do you have that would help someone within Southwood Lutheran?
When was the last time you introduced someone by not only sharing their name, but also something more that would help them be seen in a new light?
Jesus, You provide so many opportunities for us to serve you. Help us to see lifting people up, motivating others and connecting those with shared purposes as ways to be an instrument of your peace. May we be intentional in encouraging one another, as they are blessed to be a blessing. Amen