Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wearing My Apron: Becoming a Phebe

She surely didn't look like a hero of the faith. I can picture her. Her apron was probably well-stained. (Did they even wear aprons back then?) She probably toted around a bucket of cleaning supplies in one hand and a basket of seasonings and baking supplies in the other. Doesn't sound like a hero, does it?

Paul sure thought of her as a hero. And she was very good at what she did. Her task wasn't teaching ladies fellowships and conferences. She wasn't in the spotlight. She was in the shadows. Her task was serving, helping, assisting. She was so good at it that Paul recommended her and sent her to help others. She would now learn to apply her skill in a land that wasn't her home. Her name was Phebe.

Romans 16:1-2 “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.”

Phebe is one of my favorite people in all of Scripture. She had the ability to see the needs of others and lovingly minister to those needs. There is so much to learn from her!

Good Testimony
Paul commended (or recommended… presented) Phebe. Before someone like Paul would recommend someone, that person had to have a good reputation. And Phebe did! Paul not only heard about her from others. He personally experienced being helped by her. She was faithful and diligent. She did things well. "Good enough" wasn't her motto. Her motto would have been "Giving it my best for Christ!"

Ecc 9:10 "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

Col 3:23 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"

If I want to be a Phebe, I need to give every task my all, as unto the Lord.

Sister in Christ
Phebe walked the walk. She didn't just talk about it. She lived such a life that there was no question that she was a sister in Christ. She loved the brethren!

John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

If I want to be a Phebe, I need to love the brethren.

Servant of the Church
Phebe wasn't worried about recognition or doing the things that get noticed. She wasn't worried about being the ladies leader or singing the special songs at church. She just looked for things that needed to be done... and did them! She looked for people that needed help... and helped them. She was probably the kind of person that made sure there was a glass of water on the pulpit for the preacher. She probably would have been the one to refill the toilet paper roll in the bathroom. She probably would have been the one to make sure the prophets chamber had clean linens and a treat basket and plenty of toiletries. She was just willing to serve and didn't wait for someone to ask her to do it.

Gal 5:13  "... by love serve one another."

If I want to be a Phebe, I need to learn to serve others.

Phebe was gifted in hospitality and caring for the needs of others. She was the succourer of many! She learned how to recognize the needs of others, and she poured her whole heart into ministering to those needs. If the person was tired, hungry, sick, hurting, overwhelmed... she was there to help. She was thoughtful and compassionate.

1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:"

If I want to be a Phebe, I must learn to think about the needs of others and learn how to minister to those needs. I must learn compassion.


Phebes need help, too.

Receive Them
Sometimes God sends Phebes our way because we are the ones who need help. It is important that we realize when God sends a Phebe. It is also important to accept that help with a thankful heart. Pride often keeps us from allowing Phebes to serve us.

Assist Them
Do you have a Phebe in your church? Learn to recognize Phebes and then do what you can to help them do their tasks.

 "... assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you..."

Phebes love to serve, but Phebes also need some tools. Talk to your Phebe. Maybe she could use an apron or some cooking supplies. Maybe she needs someone to come along side and help her as she helps others. Let her know you see her heart to serve the church and help others and that you want to support her in that. Phebes are a rare and valuable asset to any ministry. If you realize you have been blessed with a Phebe, take good care of her as she takes good care of others.

I really want to learn how to be a better Phebe.
Sometimes putting on an apron speaks louder than words.

by Charity, Southern Asia


Joyful said...

Wonderful post! I love servants of God such as Phebe. I sometimes see them burning themselves out doing good to all they come across. So they do need a rest now and then which they will get if more of us would become Phebe. This is an inspiring post for those would be Phebes. Blessings.

Sarah McKendree said...

Phebe is one of my favorite ladies in the Bible also! In fact, we named our newborn daughter Phebe!

Wisdomseeker said...

I love this Charity. Thank you for encouraging us with your writing.

It reminds me of a ministry at our former church. Several women were designated to a visiting

missionary at our annual mission's conference. I had the privilege of being a Phebe to a

missionary family that was from Africa. It was a joy that she gave

me several things to mend and dry clean for her. I was on the watch

to do anything she needed to make her visit more comfortable and

relaxing.What a privilege! Thank you again Charity! As long as I

have known you, you are indeed a Phebe.