Urbanus and Stachys
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ and my dear friend Stachys. (Rom 16:9)
Urbanus was a Latin name meaning “of the city”. Urbanus was a common slave name. I mentioned him in the Gem yesterday related to Ampliatus. Why do I attach his name to Stachys today too?
Tradition says that Urbanus is one of the seventy disciples, and that he was a Bishop in Macedonia; which is not very probable. Others have conjectured him to be one of the pastors of the church of Rome, which is more likely; and if he was, but few of his successors have deserved the character given of him, a “helper in Christ”; in spreading the Gospel, and enlarging the kingdom and interest of Christ: Many of the popes of Rome have since taken this name to themselves. Not for reasons connected with the original Urbanus but more likely because of the meaning of the name. One of the city, i.e. one who has the interests of the city at heart. Whether that was true or not it sounded nice to conjure up images of one who held the interests of the people dear.
Urbanus had two sides – possible slave, possible statesman.
This is a Greek name, he is said to be one of the seventy disciples, and bishop of Byzantium; According to the Roman martyrology, he was ordained bishop of the Byzantine church, by Andrew the apostle, but this is not guaranteed. He was, however, one of Paul’s particular friends because of his faith in Christ, and love to him. He was on some spiritual account, very dear to the apostle. The name is not a common Greek name. it is not as prevalent as Ampliatus or Urbanus, common slave names. The name Stachys has been found in inscriptions connected with the imperial household.
I think you can see now why I have chosen to include Urbanus both with Ampliatus and with Stachys. We don’t really know for sure which group Urbanus should be attached too. There is conjecture associated with all three of these names. I tend to favour Urbanus being connected with the slave community given the historical evidence but there is also a chance he was connected with the high class and those who later become bishops and pastors, Popes and other dignitaries. But what is clear is that Paul related to both groups. High and low, free and slave, weak and strong; a living dichotomy because that is what life is and we had better get used to it. Not only that but learn to live freely with those of high standing and those of lowly status with equal ease. After all that is a Christian view point – not thinking too highly of ourselves – and it was certainly Paul’s view point as evidenced by his friends.
Is it true of your life? Do you have high class friends and low class friends with equal comfort? What about when others look on and see who your friends are? Do you allow your two sets of friends to be aware of each other? Paul certainly did. He had no problems listing both as his friends in the gospel.
Let’s draw inspiration from Paul on this matter.
You limit what God wants to do thru your ministry if you only hang out with your kind of Christian.Anon
You cannot go left and right at the same time, align yourself.S.Whyte
The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.John Ruskin