"Assist her in whatever business she has need of you..."
Text: Romans 16:2b
ASSISTING THOSE WHO SERVE THE LORD
Paul’s letter reveals significant insight as to how the early first century church functioned, especially with reference to helping itinerant servants. The following features are to be noted.
1. A word of commendation
a) Paul wrote a special word of commendation
i) This is to introduce the itinerant servant of the Lord.
ii) A word of genuine commendation is also offered.
iii) It also serves to encourage people to offer assistance.
b) Relevant information is given by way of introduction
i) Phoebe is introduced as a sister (in Christ).
ii) She is also spoken of as a servant of the church in Cenchrea.
2. A word of exhortation is given to the receiving church
i) The Church in Rome is urged to receive her well.
ii) Phoebe is to be received in a manner worthy of the saints.
3. A plea for necessary assistance
i) The actual work of Phoebe was not disclosed.
ii) However, Paul was so confident about Phoebe that he urged the church in Rome to offer any assistance to her.
APPRECIATING THIS APPROACH
There were no missionary organizations in those days. The churches were not highly organized entities. Those who needed to travel from place to place depended largely on the kindness and practical help of local churches!
Local churches on their part would offer assistance depending on the letters of commendation they received from leaders of the Church. An apostolic endorsement would go a long way to ensure that help would be offered to assist those who needed to travel for the work of the Lord.