Magazine Article

Whom We Miss Seeing

We often overlook people who are not in the spotlight

Enno Müller
Whom We Miss Seeing
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Years ago a researcher at 3M named Spencer Silver was curious about what would happen if he mixed an unusual amount of monomer into a polymer-based adhesive. The result was an adhesive that when applied to a piece of paper could stick that piece of paper to another with the ability to restick after being removed. And there would be no residue left on the second piece of paper. The discovery was useless to 3M at the time.

It wasn’t until Arthur Fry, a chemist with 3M, had an issue in the choir loft of his church that a purpose for this adhesive was found. During his practices and performances, the small bookmarks he had in his hymnal would frequently fly away, and he would lose his place. One day while trying frantically to pick up his bookmarks, Fry remembered Silver’s adhesive. Soon after, his new bookmarks metamorphosed into the handy Post-it Notes that now can be found in many stores throughout the country. 

My favorite Bible book, Romans, is full of rich and deep theology. Paul shares how salvation works, the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross, what the righteousness of God looks like, and how we are justified, and more. The book of Romans gave the early church, and it gives us today, an immense understanding about who God is.

Besides the theology, I find a few verses very interesting in the epilogue of the book. In Romans 16:1, 2, Paul says, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me” (NIV).

And then in verse 22 he adds, “I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord” (NIV).

Romans is a powerful book. And it seems that if it were not for Phoebe, this book may not have been as widely distributed as it was. She made sure that Paul’s letter was shared and understood. Tertius also played a major role by writing down what Paul dictated. If it were not for him, who knows whether Paul would have even had the chance to share his thoughts.

Neither Phoebe nor Tertius is often talked about when we discuss the book of Romans. But we have this book because both helped write, preserve, and share it. Paul must have appreciated their ministry. Both of them are included in his letter by name.

We often overlook people who are not in the spotlight, yet their contribution is invaluable. Those who organize social events, greet us at the door, host Bible studies during the week, work on the church website, connect with others on the church’s social media accounts, and run the AV system, for instance. You may not be the center of attention, but your contribution to the church’s life matters greatly. Your inconspicuous service can enable someone to hear the good news. Because of what you did, someone may be led to God or refreshed while struggling.

Enno Müller

Enno Müller is the communications director and news editor for Adventist Review Ministries.