“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,
because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world.”
Paul, the author of Romans, is thought to be sitting in Corinth, planning a trip to Spain but on the way knows he will visit Rome. And so, he wrote a letter of greeting. He opens with thanksgiving. It is thought to have been written between 55 and 57 AD and he complements the believers in Rome who were probably Jewish and Gentile on their faith.
If you were to write a letter to a friend far away that you were hoping to visit soon, what would you want to thank God for about them “first?” One of the gifts of faith is that Christianity is a world wide religion and wherever we go we may be surprised to meet a fellow Christian. I have sat in services where I may not be able to read the language or speak it but as the hymn swells, my heart can join in with them in my language. Faith is a gift that is bigger than my salvation but enters me into a family of believers.
Maybe you are not going to Rome and expecting to meet Christians but you most likely have beloved friends far away that are a gift to you because you share a common faith. Let’s make an acronym of the word “gift” and thank God for someone who has blessed your life. G is for….., I is for ….., F is for ….., and T is for ……. Thank you Lord for the gift of community around the world and even in Rome. Blessings.