Eternal fruit…

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Romans 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

Paul wraps up his letter to the Romans with a list of persons who have shared the ministry of the gospel with him. I’m particularly drawn to v. 5, “Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ.” When I looked online today I read there are approximately 400 million Christians in Asia at this time. But it started with one convert 2,000 years ago.

One convert doesn’t sound like much. But one convert – over time – can change the world.

This is one of the things I love about being part of the church. What we do together as believers may not seem like much in the moment, but the fruit of what we do is literally eternal. It doesn’t end when mortal life ends, but goes on from generation to generation.

I have a dream that I hope will be fulfilled one day. It occurs after Jesus’ return when all believers are raised up to eternal life. In the dream I make it a point to seek out those persons who supported and encouraged me in the faith in this life. Some of them I’ve been able to thank over the years, but some not. I want them to know what an impact they made on me and how grateful I am for their willingness to teach me about life with Jesus.

But there is also a group of people who find me in this dream. These are people who were impacted by my participation in the life of the church in this life. Some of them I will know, but many I will not. I will learn that one act of kindness, one word of hope, made a difference for them and encouraged them to share the love of Jesus with others. It will be a great day.

Lord, let it be so. Amen.

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