There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

Please read Romans 16

The glitz, the glitter, the excitement. The red carpet and thematic music that plays while flashbulbs capture our favorite stars. The Oscars: the height of cinema achievement. The stars and movies nominated are done so because of the excellence displayed by them, and by the teams of people it took to create them.

The scene is Rome, the perfect epicenter to the spread of the Gospel. They don’t say “All roads lead to Rome” for nothing! From this vantage point alone lives across the Roman-occupied territories and beyond could be reached. Lights, camera, action; the great work of the Gospel is already rolling. Now, Paul rolls out the credits.

In Romans 16 we have Paul’s equivalent to the Oscars, for the Gospel. His list of people he would like to thank is long and diverse, encompassing men and women who were both Jews and Gentiles. Long before Paul ever set foot on the scene, these fearless men and women were working hard to spread the Gospel. Who knows, maybe some of these names mentioned were people that Paul himself persecuted before his conversion!
Did you notice, most of these names listed are the names of women? In this day and time, women would never have been recognized like this, let alone named as deacons or apostles. Yet, here is another example of Christ’s upside-down Kingdom beginning to take shape. This list of unlikely heroes, of whom most are only named here, seems random and obscure. However, in God’s cinema, there is never an obscure character. Each role is a needed role, no matter how unlikely it may seem.

It takes an army of people to pull off a movie, and the same is true of sending workers into the field to harvest the work of the Lord. God places and uses people in roles both big and small, and ALL the roles are significant. BOTH roles are valuable in God’s eyes, and should be in ours as well.
I’m sure those Paul thanked would have never thought that God would use him. Who in your life seems too far gone to ever be used or even considered by God? Take a moment to pray for that person right now and throughout the coming weeks. Perhaps, God is getting ready to create a modern day Paul in this person, and maybe one day you will be listed in their list of Gospel Oscars.

By Sheila Rennau