Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. ~Romans 16:7
Would you be described by people who you know you as someone who is gracious? Being gracious means to be someone who is given to grace, kindness, hospitality, and putting the needs of others before your own. In Rom. 16, Paul lists a large number of people who were very special to him. We might read this chapter, gloss over the names, and think, “That was nice of Paul.” However, I am impressed and convicted of how Paul embodied and exemplified a spirit of graciousness to everyone in his life. He was not a Christian who only acknowledged the “celebrities,” but he acknowledged everyone.
He was gracious because of their faith.
“Who also were in Christ before me.” Paul had a spirit of grace to these two precious people because they were fellow believers. In fact, he acknowledges them as those who were in Christ before him. He respected them as older Christians. Paul told Timothy in I Tim. 5:1-2, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” Christians must major on having the utmost respect for each other because of our faith.
He was gracious because they were family.
“My kinsmen.” They were blood relatives of Paul. The necessity of showing respect and a spirit of grace to each other is even more necessary when they are blood relatives. We must not make the assumption that just because they are related to us we can get away with being less than gracious. Instead, a spirit of grace must be evident with related brethren showing the utmost grace for one another.
He was gracious because of their fellowship.
“Who are of note among the apostles.” Andronicus and Junia served and labored among the apostles. Andronicus means “man of victory,” and Junia means “youthful.” In their capacity, they had an understanding of the burdens of the Apostles. They did not do the work of the Apostles, but they did whatever work was needed so that the Apostles could give themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. Their work gave the Apostles more time to focus on the things that were most productive for the Lord’s work.
He was gracious because of their fate.
“My fellow-prisoners.” They were suffering affliction in prison alongside of Paul! Paul had the utmost respect for these two believers because they were willing to suffer with him. Those who suffer among us are deserving of grace and much help from us. Sometimes, we can be so task-driven we forget that those who are in a disadvantaged position must be shown a spirit of grace if for no other reason than to encourage them.
He was gracious because of the fundamental.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” Eph. 4:32. Graciousness is a fundamental Christian virtue. It is an imperative that we are to practice. It is a virtue to be practiced regardless if it is exhibited to us by the people we need to show grace to.
Are you gracious? How gracious are you? When we think of and pray for people in our lives as Paul did, it becomes our nature to be gracious. This morning, get some people on your heart that you extend graciousness to.
Have a gracious God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Obadiah-Jonah