Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Romans 16:12a
At the beginning of David O. Selznick’s film of Margaret Mitchell’s celebrated novel, Gone With the Wind, we see the Tarleton Twins, Brent and Stuart, would-be suitors of Katie Scarlett O’Hara at her family’s plantation, Tara. The Tarleton twins may have also been in the scene at Twelve Oaks, the Hamilton family’s plantation. Fred Crane and George Reeves, who portrayed the twins in the classic film, had bit parts with a few speaking lines.
In the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans we meet the “Try” Twins, as I call them, or Tryphaena and Tryphosa. They are solely mentioned in the list of greetings Paul sends to specific persons in the Church at Rome.
According to Herbert Lockyer, author of All the Women of the Bible, the names, which were characteristically pagan, mean “delicate.” Lockyer adds, “Being of noble birth, they ‘lived delicately’ that is, in plenty and pleasure and luxury. ‘Delicate’ may, of course refer to physical weakness, and as tender and delicate women Tryphena and Tryphosa stand out as early examples of incessant and arduous labors in the service of the church. Whether of gentle and refined manners, or delicate in health or both, these active workers carved a niche for themselves in Paul’s portrait gallery of the saints.” (pp. 164-165)
Often in funerals Dr. Negley and I refer to those who have joined the Church Triumphant as “a child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ.” To those appellations we might also add the title that was descriptive of Tryphaena and Tryphosa, namely, “workers in the Lord.” Truly we are blessed if people can say of us now or upon our deaths that we were: children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ and workers in the Lord.
Almighty God, within the pages of the Bible not everyone has played a prominent role like David and Mary, Ruth and Paul. There are many saints not mentioned by name and others while mentioned by name have only one reference. Each of us has a role to fill and we thank You for it. Truly we are blessed when it can be said of us: He or she was a child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ and a worker in the Lord. Amen.