2 "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 the benefactor of many people, including me."
Romans 16 may seem like one big greeting letter with nothing more than a list of names. But it is far more than a list of names. The chapter begins with Paul greeting Phoebe, a servant of the church. Of the names mentioned, Phoebe seems to be the only person traveling to Rome. The others listed seem to already be settled and living in Rome prior to the sending of this letter. Paul uses many words to describe his relationships with those whom he desires the people of Rome to greet; but when he speaks of Phoebe he uses the word sister. He calls her “our sister” which shows the connection and family-like environment within the church in Rome. Paul is asking the church to receive her as their sister and to fulfil all of her needs when she arrives there. Phoebe is also the only one to be commended by Paul. Next we see Paul describe Phoebe in verse one as a servant to the church in Cenchreae. The word servant can also be translated to the word deacon. Phoebe may have well been the deacon of the church in Cenchreae; although it may have been a highly unpopular practice, there was no reason why a woman could not have been a deacon during that time. She is said to have helped many in need and to be a patron (helper/servant) to Paul as well. In return for her good deeds to Paul, he is asking that the people of the church in Rome take her in and treat her the same way she has treated others.
From the beginning of the Christian church, numerous women have played crucial roles in the growth and ministry of the church. Whether it is as both partners in marriage or as single women, they have been vital instruments in the growth of the church. The great women of the Bible were fearless, they put their own lives in jeopardy, and were faithful and God fearing throughout all walks of life. In Deborah in Judges 4, we see a prophetess who was a judge to the people of Israel and gave her wisdom and prophetic council for the betterment of the people. As a result of her effective leadership, she gave 40 years of peace to the Israelites. Women have never been watching from the side. Instead the courage, hard work, dedication, and the roles played by women in the history of the missions are remarkable in so many ways.
Lord, we thank you for the numerous roles women have had in the history of our church. We thank you for the continued strength and leadership women continue to show in our church today. We pray that you help and strengthen them for the betterment of our church and community, as well as to help those who are striving to become leaders among us. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” —Anne Frank
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