Thoughts shared from Sara, leader of the Women of Valor Bible Study:
Phoebe is only mentioned in a single sentence, in the Book of Romans. But through that sentence, we receive hints of a life dedicated to the church and its people, and we are inspired by an example of generosity and dedication.
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. (Romans 16:1-2)
We know from Paul’s description of her and from her willingness to make the journey to Rome, that Phoebe was deeply devoted to the work of the church. For a woman, this was quite an honor and a rarity at that time.
We can also tell from Paul’s description of Phoebe that he feels deeply grateful to her for the work that she has done. He calls for the Romans to treat her “in a way worthy of the saints” and “help her in whatever way she may need” because she has been a patron for many, including Paul himself. Phoebe’s generosity, then, is both in terms of her time and her gifts. Phoebe was likely born into wealth and used her gifts to serve the church and maintain its servants. She also used her spiritual and earthy gifts — time, patience, and the freedom to travel — to serve the church in bringing Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Phoebe seems to have given both spiritual and earthly gifts, in a true example of generosity. Her example of service allows us to look at our own lives, seeing where our own qualities may be being used to help others or contribute to the church.
For me personally, I want to always be willing to use my gifts to serve the church and God’s kingdom. Circumstances do not always allow me to actively use my gifts, but my part is to be willing and to look for opportunities.
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