Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. (ESV)
Paul sends greetings to a woman named Mary. When we think of that name in Scripture we immediately think of the mother of Jesus. This was a different Mary. We may think of Mary Magdalene. But that also is a different Mary. Imagine how the woman mentioned by Paul was overshadowed by these other significant Mary's. The fact that she is mentioned by Paul, however, proves that she is a very important lady.
Paul says that Mary worked hard. This description of hard work in the text is intense. It is like saying she worked to the point of exhaustion. Mary was a key member of the church at Rome. She was key because of her willingness to work hard. Those churches that do great things for the kingdom of God must have members who are willing to labor.
There is no question that Mary was a worker who labored for the King of Kings. All of us who labor in the church do everything as unto the Lord. However, the Apostle Paul brings out this idea that Mary worked hard for the recipients of this letter. Her work was an offering to Jesus Christ himself, but it was a personal blessing to the people who were a part of the local church in Rome.
This concept of working hard for the Savior, in ways that meet the needs of real people in the church is a standard for all of us. If you are attending a church you are called to serve, and to serve well. There are no commendations for how well you have warmed the cushion of a church pew. May it be said of us that we worked hard for Christ, and for the members of his church.
Are you working hard? What are some ways that your local church could use your help? If you are not sure, ask the Pastor how you can get involved.