Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the Community
Preacher: Jessyka Dooley
Reflection: Jessyka Dooley
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 16:1-16 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: In this closing chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he greets his friends. Paul doesn’t just give a casual hello; he compliments and uplifts his friends.
Following Paul’s introduction of Phoebe, he continues on to share about Priscilla and Aquila. In the New Living Translation, Paul refers to them as co-workers in the ministry of Jesus Christ. I want you to take a moment now and think of your coworkers, your family, your classmates. Think about your relationships with them. Are they strictly professional, or are these people you would invite over for a meal?
To Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were more than coworkers—they were lifesavers. “In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches” he writes (Romans 16:4). Any of your coworkers worth risking your life for? Paul points out the attributes, successes, and gifts that his friends in Rome have. He is uplifting them.
Hara Estroff Marano, in an article called “The Art of the Compliment,” states:
Once praiseworthy situations are noticed, the awareness needs to be spoken. In other words, the compliment needs to be put forth into the world in spoken form. We deliver praise. People benefit from being the objects of compliments, but we also benefit being givers of them. Recipients benefit from knowing that we notice and learning that we value them. So compliments are powerful in motivating continued efforts. People strive to do more of what brings praise from others.
Paul is not just buttering up his friends, but giving them one of the most incredible gifts we have to offer one another. This is the gift of saying, “I see you, and I appreciate you.” As you think of people in your day-to-day life, are you making an intentional effort to not only notice their positive qualities and actions, but to verbalize your appreciation for them?
Would our churches, communities, and workplaces look different if we followed the model of Paul and showered one another with compliments on a regular basis? When we are slow to critique and quick to love, the atmosphere changes.
Recalibrate: What comes more naturally to you: compliments or critiques? What do you believe has nudged or pushed you in one direction or the other?
Respond: Ask God to help you see the good in others. When you see something positive, say something affirming!
Research: Read the “The Art of the Compliment.”
Remember: “Let me introduce to you our sister Phoebe. She is a deacon in the church at Cenchreae. I want you to welcome her in the Lord, as is proper for one of God’s people” (Romans 16:1-2, KNT).
Jessyka Dooley has served Boulder Adventist Church since 2015 when she first arrived as a pastoral intern. After returning to Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she finished her degree, Jessyka returned as a full-time associate pastor in May of 2016. She grew up in Washington State and is a graduate of Auburn Adventist Academy. Jessyka is a dual citizen of the United States and Switzerland. She married Kiefer Dooley in October of 2018.
Holding your hands up say, “My hands help me tickle.” Tickle your little one. Touching your nose say, “My nose helps me smell what is sweet and what is stinky.” Pointing to your eyes say, “My eyes help me see all that is good.” Tap your feet and say, “My feet help me run to give you a cuddle.” Say, “God made me so I can help you and you can help me and we are family.”
Make a list of all the ways you see people helping each other. Maybe you will see a crossing guard at your local school or a nurse at the doctor’s office when you go for a check up. Think about how they help and who they help. Imagine all the ways you might help others. Make a list and get started today.
About a year ago, my friend and I went on a trip to Portland, Oregon, where we lived for 10 days as if we were homeless. We stayed in a shelter, and our guide was a man named Tom who had spent many years on the streets. One day we were outside walking and Tom looked a homeless man and said, “I see you!” We asked him later why he did that and I’ll never forget his response: “Sometimes people just need to know that other people see them.” He continued explaining how when he was homeless, one of the worst things about it was how people pretended not to see him. He said that eventually you actually start to believe that you are invisible and the loneliness becomes unbearable. Which people in your life do you need to “see” more intentionally? A sibling? A coworker? The unpopular kid in your class? Make sure people know you appreciate them, and if you don’t, ask Jesus to help you see the good in others.