Rufus. When I write or hear that name, I think first of a lovable mangy mutt who was the pet of good family friends from my childhood. "Ru-boy" made friends easily and I remember him with fondness. Because of my four-legged friend, I cannot help but laugh (silently if I'm preaching the text) when I read the sixteenth chapter of Romans, particularly verse thirteen.
In Paul's words, we meet Rufus' mother or, at least, learn a bit about her. Her mothering, while certainly practiced at home, was extended to Paul and likely many others. Paul mentioned her with fondness. While Paul provided no mention of Rufus' father, Mark did.
Simon, a man from Cyrene (northern Africa), bore Jesus' cross in a time of great need of support for the Son of God. Clearly one who bore Jesus' cross on the painful journey to the place of the Skull would forever be altered. For Simon, such an alteration opened his eyes to the love of God. What did Simon do with that knowledge? We know, for sure, one thing he did. He shared his experience, joy, and newfound faith with his family. Paul, in Romans 16, wrote of Rufus as one "chosen in the Lord." That choosing began, I believe, with a father's teaching to his family. Once Rufus heard his dad, he was drawn to the truth of Jesus. He went on to be listed in Paul's annals of history.
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Rufus is numbered as one of the Seventy Disciples. In one of their hymns (Kontakion, Tone 4), they sing a tribute . . .
While I spend very little time studying "the saints," I enjoy that tribute.
What a difference a father's example made! What a difference telling his story made! Simon began his service to God through carrying the cross; he continued it through telling his story. Look for the ears around you and then speak into them your story. You never know what difference you will make.
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