«The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen» (Romans 16:24).
THE APOSTLE PAUL ended his letter to the Romans by personally greeting the brethren and advising them to avoid anything and anyone causing offenses and divisions. In the conclusion, he sent greetings from other fellow missionaries and concluded with praise and gratitude for God’s powerful missionary actions.
Paul was a great theologian, a great leader, and a great pastor, but from the beginning of the Epistle, he presented himself as a servant and slave of the Lord. That is why he acknowledged and expresses his thanks for the help he had received from so many brethren, which helped better fulfill the mission.
The apostle called Priscilla and Aquila «my fellow workers,» who risked their lives for him; he called Epaenetus «beloved»; and Andronicus and Junia, «countrymen» and «outstanding» (NIV). Urbanus is called a «fellow worker,» and Stachys, «my beloved.» In addition, Paul acknowledged that Tryphena and Tryphosa «labored in the Lord.» He even allows the penman to say, «I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord» (Rom. 16:22).
No one is so good that he or she does not need friends or fellow workers, because all our achievements involve not only our efforts, but also the efforts of many people who always support us.
In January 2012, three buildings in Rio de Janeiro collapsed. A journalist interviewed firefighter Pinho, after he rescued Marcelo from under the rubble, saving his life. Everyone ran away from the danger, but the firefighter went into danger. «What is the passion that mobilizes you?» the reporter asked. He replied, «Whenever I run in the direction of tragedy, a single idea mobilizes my life; that is my passion: saving others and saving myself.’
How many, like Marcelo, are on the brink of death under the rubble of this world of sin and urgently need decisive actions—actions full of courage, a sense of urgency, and real priorities—to be rescued. Like the firefighter, we have to live to save and save ourselves; this must be our passion and the mobilizer of our existence.
Saving others and saving ourselves are actions that are closely connected; they are aspects of the same experience. No one can selfishly enjoy salvation without making a commitment to save others. We receive grace; we share grace (see Matt. 10:8).
«You have nothing to do other than save souls.
Therefore, use what you have and use yourself in this work» (John Wesley).
«How do we fulfill our mission? Christ’s representatives will be in daily communion with Him. Their words will be select, their speech seasoned with grace, their hearts filled with love, their efforts sincere, earnest, persevering, to save souls for whom Christ has died’ (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 74).