Abbie had been working in the same company for two years when she began to realize that her colleagues were more than just people who happened to work in the same place. They were an important part of her life. So she began to learn more about them, and they would sometimes even share a meal together. Even though some co-workers were difficult to relate to, Abbie and her colleagues began to create an environment where everyone could grow and develop together.

The apostle Paul had an amazing team of more than twenty co-workers whom he listed by name in his letter to believers in Rome (Romans 16:1-16). One of the reasons he listed each might have been to establish credibility with the church there—letting them know he knew many of their leaders. But he probably also simply wanted to affirm and honor his colleagues by name.

The stories of each of these people are not known in detail. But Paul lists some amazing facts. Phoebe was a deacon, which is translated in some versions as servant, and she helped many believers including Paul (Romans 16:1). Priscilla and Aquila had suffered persecution, yet they persevered and at one time even risked their lives for Paul (Romans 16:3-4; Acts 18:2). Epenetus was the first believer in Asia Minor, who probably led many others there to become believers (Romans 16:5).

Although Paul was focused on advancing the kingdom of God, he didn’t do it alone, nor did he treat his co-workers as mere tools in his mission. Instead, he sought to develop and encourage them by speaking positively about them and giving specific examples of things he appreciated about them. Whenever possible, may we also seek to encourage and honor our colleagues in their work for Christ’s kingdom.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 6:19-34