Almost 2000 years ago a woman traveled from the city of Corinth, on a journey of more than 800 miles, to Rome. Scroll in hand, she was being used by God as a vessel to deliver life giving truths. It’s in this letter we read the familiar words that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God“, that “the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord“. Without this letter to the Romans how would we know that there is “now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” or that “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us“? Where else would we find the comfort and confidence that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose“? Is there any other book of the bible that gives the instruction to “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, and thou shalt be saved“?
Just think of all the people who have been delivered from darkness by reading the Spirit inspired words that Paul wrote and that this woman named Phoebe delivered to the church at Rome. What if she would have lost the scroll, or set it on her shelf and forgot about it? God has a miraculous way of preserving his word and getting it where it needs to go, so he would’ve chosen another vessel to get the job done, but he didn’t need to because Phoebe was willing and obedient and God used her. If you’re saved today, you are fruit of her obedience.
~Romans 16:1-2~ I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Phoebe received a glowing commendation by the apostle Paul, she was:
- A sister in Christ – She was part of the family of God, and if you’re a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ- you are too. On our mission trips it’s always a blessing to meet women of all ages, stages, and ethnicity. We immediately have this sweet bond because we have the same heavenly Father. There’s common ground in Christ, even if we have absolutely nothing else even remotely similar.
- A servant – Phoebe was actively serving in ministry at her local church, she was faithful to serve others. She followed the example of Jesus who said in Mark 10:45~ For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. This is the mindset of a sacrificial servant.
- A saint – Paul requests that the church at Rome receive her and assist her in any way she needed, as was proper for the saints of God. (Contrary to some teaching out there, the bible clearly calls all believers saints, not just certain special people. Psalm 116:15, Philippians 4:21-22, 2Corinthians 13:13, Hebrews 13:24, Romans 1:7, 1Corinthians 1:2, and several other scriptures. You can search for saint(s) in the Strong’s Concordance or on Blue Letter Bible and find all of the instances.)
- A succourer – That means she was a female guardian, a patroness, an assistant, caring for the affairs of others, and aiding them with her resources. Some commentaries on Phoebe call her a deaconess. She helped bear the burden of ministry for those around her, and represented her church well.
In two short verses we get insight into the character and conduct of our sister Phoebe. Think about if your pastor was describing you to another church. What would be said of you? Can you call yourself a sister, a servant, a saint, or a succourer? Or would it be written that you are merely an attender at the church he cares for?
Phoebe inspires me to selflessly serve in any way I can and take the truth to those in need. The bible I hold in my hands is a life-giving, heart-changing, mind-renewing, soul-saving, spirit-refreshing book of truth. More than just one scroll, you and I have the privilege and responsibility to carry all 66 volumes to the hearts and homes of the hopeless and hurting. There are so many out there who desperately need us to be willing vessels of honor like our sister Phoebe.
The Great Commission isn’t just for men! Women need other women who will set aside some time in their schedule to minister truth to them, to love them like Christ, and serve them with humility. They need a woman who is willing to bring them the word. Will you answer the call to go and meet that need sweet sister?
~Romans 12:11-13~ Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.