Rom 1:8-10 “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.”
Scholars tell us that Paul wrote his letter to the church at Rome around 57 A.D. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus had taken place approximately 23 years earlier. Rome’s population has been estimated at anywhere from 700,000 to 1.5 million people at the time of Paul’s writing. Paul was looking at a city that (population-wise) was somewhere between the size of Nashville, TN and Dallas, TX.
At the time of Paul’s letter, there would have been both Jews and Gentiles residing in the city of Rome. In a city of this size and diversity, the faith and labor of the church there must have indeed been great for it to have been the topic of conversation throughout the Roman Empire (which is likely “the whole world” that Paul is speaking of). Paul was diligent to give thanks to God through Jesus Christ for saints at Rome and their steadfast faith. Although the labor was theirs, the glory for it belonged to God.
This is something that seems to have been forgotten in much of the modern world today. We see man and women attempting great things in the world, but they want the glory for it. They seek to have it spoken of by the whole world (at least as it affects them) without properly honoring God for His grace and strength in the performance of His will. When we behave in this manner, we are very much like those that Jesus spoke of in Matthew (chapter 6) who blew a trumpet before doing any type of alms to that they would receive the recognition of men.
As servants of God, we also have a responsibility to the church to pray for them regularly and diligently. This should be such a part of our lives that we would not be afraid to call God as our witness. The key to this diligence of prayer and concern for the church(es) is to be a willing servant to the very core of our being. Our joy, comfort, and strength are drawn from our service to Him in the good news of His Son.
Paul did not want to be a long distance servant. His desire was always to be among God’s faithful children. He was not only an encouragement to them, but he also drew encouragement from them. His seeking a prosperous journey did not mean that he hoped to gain riches along the way. Paul’s intent was that if it was the will of God for Him to be able to come to them, then the journey would be prosperous.
We should always find ourselves feeling prospered when we are able to be among, and worship with the faith saints of God. We should always recognize that our journey among God’s people is prospered according to His will. We should be quick to give Him the glory for having fellowship with faithful saints. Praying diligently for His church is the result of serving God with our spirit in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
May our fellowship always be with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ so that we might know the true depth of our fellowship with each other!