8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world (Romans 1).
Paul’s first inclination was to thank God for these dear people he was writing to, and to thank Him specifically for the breadth of their witness in the world. Here is a man who himself had become very famous for his faith, and yet all he could think about was the fame of this group of Christians. Indeed, their faith was famous, and therefore foremost in Paul’s mind was to express thanks to God for it.
Paul’s whole life was committed to seeing people grow in their faith in the gospel, and when he was hearing about the faith of Christians living in Rome, I’m sure he just couldn’t contain himself — “How about those Roman believers!”
And it gets me to thinking, what if someday people said things like, “What about those St. John’s believers! Aren’t they amazing?” How cool would that be? I know one thing: nothing gives me more joy than to see people in this flock outstripping me in their personal faith in and sacrificial service to Jesus.
Lord, whether anyone here on earth ever notices the faith and service of St. John’s Baptist Church, we know You do, and that is really all that matters. We pray our faith would be such that every now and then You Yourself would call attention to us among the angels around Your throne — “Hey, Gabriel, how about those St. John’s folks!” Amen.