Tuesday, 11 February 2014
Greet Mary, who labored much for us. Romans 16:6
Paul asks now for a special greeting for Mary. Her name comes from the Hebrew “Mariam” which means “Rebellion” or “Obstinacy.” Rather than being a rebel though, she “labored much for us.” A different source text renders “for you” instead of “for us” and so many modern versions read it this way. “Us” is probably the better choice though because Paul hasn’t yet been to Rome and so it is unclear as to how she would have come to Paul’s note. But if she was previously in Greece with Paul like Priscilla and Aquila, then he would know first-hand about her labors.
This is the only time she is mentioned in Scripture although there are a total of six “Mary’s” of note in the Bible. Like other faithful and hard working people, this one sentence is what defines her for all time in God’s word. A similar person of note is found in Nehemiah 3.
As the walls around Jerusalem were being built, individuals took care to work on specific sections of it. Some erected the gates, others cared for sections close to where they lived. Nehemiah records who worked, where they worked, and he also gives insights into their job performance. Out of the blue, a man mentioned nowhere else in the Bible is highlighted –
“Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest.” Nehemiah 3:20 (NIV)
Baruch, whose name means “Blessed,” didn’t stay home and watch through the windows. Nor did he head out for fishing and camping with his family. He went to work on the wall. And as Nehemiah observed him, he didn’t say, “Baruch slacked along at a snail’s pace.” Instead, he was given an A+ rating by the Bureau of Better Wall Builders. His report card notes that he “zealously repaired another section of the wall.” He, together with Mary in Romans 16 who “labored much for us,” are rewarded in God’s eternal word with notes of praise for their efforts.
Life application: If you were to receive your evaluation for your labors in the work God has assigned you today, what would the report card say? Think on this because we all have a day of evaluation coming up as we stand before the Lord. Be like Baruch and Mary and be noted as zealous laborers for the Lord!
Lord God, were I to be recorded in Your word, what would be said of me? Would I be called a “Hard Worker For the Lord” or would the verse say I was “A Slacker in Need of Improvement”? Would I be seen like David who was a champion for Your name, or like Job’s wife who cared little for it? Help me to consider this because a report card of my life will be coming. I pray it will be one which reflects diligence, perseverance, and honor for Your great name. Amen.