Tertius-Servant Behind the Scenes

Tom Bartha

READ : Romans 16:17-29

“He’s a quiet saint.” Or, “She’s a behind-the-scenes sort of person,” we say of people who serve quietly, often unheralded for their efforts. Flowers are planted. Letters are sent. A church kitchen is cleaned. Transportation is provided. Coffee is made. Tasks are performed. Only later do we wonder who might have been responsible. God’s kingdom is full of such faithful servants, whose names are known to few, but whose lives yield good fruit.

Paul did not always write the words we read, but rather dictated them to a secretary. Tertius recorded Paul’s words to the church in Rome. As this magnificent letter comes to a conclusion, with its wealth of truth and rich theology, Paul offers thanksgiving for many friends. In the midst of it, secretary Tertius inserts a greeting of his own: “I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.” Tertius reminds us that in any faith-related venture, there are faithful servants in the background helping others excel. No one is unimportant.


For all the laborers, Lord, who serve quietly and effectively behind the scenes we offer thanks. Bless them and those touched by their efforts; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.