I just finished reading the book of Romans this week. Romans continues to be one of my favorite books in Scripture. Don’t you find that every time you re-visit portions of the Bible that you’re familiar with something new always jumps out at you?
This time it was the very last chapter that got my attention. As Paul wraps up his letter to the Believers in Rome he lists over thirty people by name, giving them special recognition. He called them, sisters, co-workers, dear friends, good men, leaders, those who risked their lives for him, and fellow Jews.
He told the readers to greet Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. That little tidbit alone amazed me. We know the name of the person that we could call “Christian Zero” in the Roman Province of Asia. What a heritage. Paul seems so grateful for their presence and activity in his life. He recognizes the great need for deep relationships and co-workers in his life.
While looking through the names of people that Paul recognized and honored, I started to think of people in my own life that I consider co-workers in the Gospel. And then I began to consider those people in the publishing world that I would consider to be co-workers.
Chad Allen wrote in his recent blog “I’ve noticed that my friendships seem to head in one trajectory or another too. Not exclusively, of course, but primarily I have friends who support my spiritual pursuits, and I have other friends who support my entrepreneurial pursuits. And I value both equally.”
There are other words that have been tossed around a lot that could mean the same as co-worker. Words such as tribe and community. Both describe a group of people that one could share something in common with: a goal, a belief system, an affection. The ones that we do life with. The ones that we couldn’t get along without.
It’s good to follow Paul’s example to appreciate and honor our own tribes and community. Who makes up your list? Critique partners, beta readers, editors, agents, fellow bloggers and the readers who comment on your blog? People who have given their time and resources toward your work as a writer and author? Some of them may live in another part of the country, or the world, as was Paul’s experience. He had co-workers all over the map. Today, thanks to the internet, we can say the same thing.
But let me close with this. As I was meditating on all of this, and considering those people that make up my own tribe and community – my co-workers - I began to wonder how many people would put me on their own list? And that’s really my challenge for us. Let’s make someone’s list.