“Phebe, an Example to be Remembered”
By Norma Tochijara
"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." Romans 16:1-2
How sweet to see godly women mentioned in the Holy Word of God! How sweet to hear of their example even as little as we know about them! What a great encouragement for our souls to keep pressing hard as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling! Knowing that God does not owe anything to anyone and that all our secret works will be rewarded one glorious day.
But of these godly women, we know only what we need to know, no more, no less. What do we know about Phebe? She was a member of a church in Cenchrea , and apparently a woman of considerable means because she was a succourer of many. She probably traveled to Rome for business, and the apostle asks the church of Rome to assist her in anything she needs. The letter was written to the Romans from Corinth and sent by Phebe, as we see at the end of the book. So probably, she carried some letters which Paul had written.
She is also called a sister, and a servant of her church. Some say that because Cenchrea was nearer to the coast than Corinth, Cenchrea was a city through which all kinds of people passed who were coming and going from Corinth, and Phebe may have opened her house to the saints. Others say that she cared for the apostle's needs just like other women cared for Christ. But we do not know exactly what she did, all we know, is that the Holy Spirit has chosen to leave this all out of the text, and not to tell us specifically what kind of work she did. Her works are kept secret to get her reward in heaven, not be praised by men. Therefore, Phebe serves as an example to godly women in every church, in the particular station in life in which God has placed us. Whether we open our house to the needy, or mend the clothes of the saints, or feed the hungry in our churches, or show hospitality, or clean the dishes after a meal. We are to serve, serve even if our works are not known, may we be known as sisters and servants of our church.
Many times in the Bible we are reminded of the importance of godly and pious women to the welfare of the church! And at the end of the days, we hear the words: “My good and faithful servant, come into your rest!”
We hear encouragement as to not get tired of doing good. Not according to our circumstances, not according to our emotions, not because of our age, but in spite of all that, we serve.
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers (mind you, teachers), of good things." And here is how they must teach: "that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed."
That is beautiful! Women are put in the church to serve other women, to teach them, to encourage them, that the Word of God be not blasphemed! O what a precious call to serve, to be a servant and sisters as Phebe was, that our works will be known by the Lord alone so that His name alone be exalted.
About the Author: Norma Tochijara: I am a wife, a mother of 3 beautiful children (2 boys with us and one girl with the Lord). Living in Canada, striving to serve the Lord and grow in grace as I wait patiently for the day when I can live with Him forever. Norma blogs at Reduce Me To Love.