by Jerome Taylor
BURTON, MI – I’m about to admit something awkward. It may not be easy to digest so you have your warning now. There are portions of Scripture that I have had a tendency to gloss over from time to time. At points in my life, they seemed rather pointless.
This seems quite strange since all of Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). So how is it that certain segments of Scripture can be so easily dismissed in their importance during certain points of our lives.
I submit for me; this was due to a lack of understanding the immense kindness God shared through his providence of true brothers and sisters in Christ. Take Romans 16 for a prime example.
The apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Rome under the authoritative direction of the Holy Spirit, writes of the glorious gift of the gospel with such passion and purpose. But in this same letter, he mentions no less than 28 people for whom he is thankful in how they have played a significant role in his life and ministry. Some of these have no other introduction or narrative in the unfolding revelation of Scripture than here.
This is not the only place you can find mention of people who have been influential instruments of grace in the mission of the church, some named and others not so much. However, in our case and for the sake of brevity I only point to Romans 16. God has used this and other often dismissed lists of names in the Bible to remind me of a gracious and glorious treasure we all may call to mind as reasons for thankfulness.
We have been granted the gift of brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the past, now in the present, and in the days the Lord is pleased to provide us for the future. As I type this article, my mind recalls those who have been instructive, encouraging, and formative in my conversion, discipleship, and ministry.
I am also amazed that in the last 9 years of my pilgrimage within the land of Michigan, God has brought alongside a band of brothers that I honestly don’t know how I could have persevered without their prayer, edification, co-labor, and shaping. And I would not do justice by attempting the full list today, but I am no less grateful for each of you.
Think about the people you can thank God for and in your remembrance of them in prayer (Philippians 1:3), be renewed in encouragement towards the Lord Jesus who has brought people into your life so that the good work began in you would be brought to completion. Then, seek the Lord’s help for you to be that same person in the life of another.
You may not ever have your name recorded on some semi-significant list for all posterity. If not, you are just as valued by the Lord Jesus and can be used by His grace to be influential and memorable to those whose good He means to cultivate by your brotherhood or sisterhood.
Be blessed my brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ for whom I am so thankful. Let us labor on together by His grace, through His gospel, and for His glory.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerome Taylor is the pastor of Eastgate Baptist Church, Burton. He is the husband of Melinda and father of Abigail, Jackson, Hannah, and Naomi. He is the current Recording Secretary for the BSCM, a leader in the Genesee Baptist Association, the Michigan trustee for Gateway Seminary, and a Past President of the BSCM (2016-2018).