This week we read in Romans 16: 1-2 of the esteemed Phoebe; who’s name means “Pure or as radiant as the moon.” She was in fact radiant, but it was the love of Jesus that radiated from her. Like many of the ladies we’ve studied, there’s very little written about her in the scriptures. Oh, but what is written tells us so much in those few words.
It’s no coincidence that her story falls in line with that of the widows and deacons we covered last week. Research states that she was set apart. The Word tells us that Phoebe was in fact a deacon or deaconess, the Greek word “diakonos”, as appointed by those in the church at Cenchrea. That verse alone says so much! A woman!!! Appointed to be a deacon!!! That means women WERE given roles of leadership in the early church! Say what???!!! This just further confirms that God did intend from the beginning, for every honorable believer, not just the men, but women as well, to have a place in the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I imagine she wore that role like a glove; pouring herself out in caring for others, those in need or sick, with a servant’s heart for the Lord, as deacons are appointed to do. In this passage, Paul greets the church by asking them to welcome and honor her as a saint and to aide her in whatever she needed because she had been helpful to so many and especially to him. She was known for her servant’s heart no matter the cost. The same servant’s heart that Paul entrusted his letter to the Romans to be delivered by way of her hand. Read between the lines and it doesn’t take much to see that this woman did much more than care for those in need and was a delivery girl for Paul. She invested herself in the lives of others, in her calling all for the cause of Christ. No doubt it came with great risks, but she still pursued Him and the call He had on her life, no matter what.
This got me thinking. What am I known for? What would Paul say about me? Am I set apart? Am I fully committed to the call that God has on my life? Do I have a submitted servant’s heart? No matter the cost? I’d like to think the answer to all is ‘yes’, but these two verses in scripture of our dear Phoebe, challenges me to ask myself these questions.
The truth is we can all be better and there’s always room for improvement. I will never stop needing to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord nor will I ever fully satisfy the call on my life. However, I find myself yearning to be likened to the beautiful character we read of this amazing and honorable lady. Not from a place of pride or selfishness but a place that desires so much to bring the Lord the same kind of glory. I want to be known for my heart for Jesus, for The Word and ministering to everyone the Lord intends for me to. To be so focused on the purpose He created me for and the calling He has on my life that I don’t get so distracted by the world or my own personal ambitions. Although, even on my best day, I still fall short of the glory of God himself, I purpose to live each day that is worthy of my Father saying to me, “Well done good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21
What about you? What are you known for?