Thursday, August 4, 2022

04Aug

Romans 16:1-2

"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people, and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a benefactor of many people, including me." Romans 16:1-2 (NIV)

Most weeks, when we choose our bible verse, there are many choices of passages that speak directly to or about the subject we have been given. This week, not so much. Phoebe is mentioned in two short verses of the entire Bible, seemingly a forgettable character in the grand scheme of things. So, I prayed, I researched, I read, I learned. Many theologians and scholars have contemplated Phoebe's role and what Paul had in mind when he mentioned her in his letter to the Romans. I found that one scholar noted, "Phoebe carried under the folds of her robe the whole future of Christian theology." Many feel she was tasked with actually carrying the letter and explaining it to the first people to hear its message. What an awesome responsibility! Awesome not in the sense of wonderful or stunning, but awesome in the sense of daunting or inspiring great fear. Especially in the time Phoebe lived, as a woman, this must have been completely unusual to be handed such an important assignment.

Others surmise that Phoebe, being a part of a larger group who all traveled together to deliver the letter to the Romans, was singled out because of her generosity and care for those around her. Deacon is sometimes translated as servant. What greater request does the Lord have for us than to be a servant to others? How difficult is it for us to carry out this duty with grace, love and joy? Phoebe's contribution to those around her must surely have helped those hearing the message to listen closely to what she had to say. Whether she endeavored to be a leader or whether she was cast into the position because of her willingness to care for and give to others, she most certainly attained a leadership role.

We can learn so much from Phoebe and what her life must have been. We see that perhaps small acts, sharing a word or belief with someone, can change things down the road in a big way, like the spreading circles from skipping stones. We can see that taking a leadership role and doing big things, may help others to see their way to God. We see that a servant's heart can lead to awesome results, awesome in the sense of wonderful and stunning!

Questions For Reflection:

  • How can we use the lessons learned from Phoebe's life to guide us to better care for and lead those around us?
  • Do we ever think about how we interact with those around us in ways that might help them find their way to the Lord?

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for giving us examples of humble people who, by simply caring for and giving to others, can actually make a joyful difference in the world. Amen

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Posted by Rita Loos

Rita and Bob have been members of Southwood since 1997. She is a faithful Christian, happy wife, joyful mom, ecstatic grandma, meticulous court reporter, enthusiastic quilter and playful fairy garden planter. Being a mom was her favorite job, until the grandkids came along.

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