"She has been a helper of many..."
Text: Romans 16:2c
A HELPER OF MANY
What a word of commendation Paul wrote concerning Phoebe! What a testimony Phoebe obtained through her faithful service given to the Lord. The picture Paul presented concerning Phoebe includes the following features.
1. She had a heart of a servant.
a) She distinguished herself as one who served humbly (“diakonon”).
b) She was prepared to serve the Lord in the context of Church work.
2. She had a courageous heart.
a) Not many women would have the courage to travel as Phoebe obviously had.
b) She was traveling to places where she was obviously a stranger.
c) She would have to depend on the kindness and generosity of local churches.
3. She had an outstanding faith.
a) She must have a special faith to step out of her comfort zone. Traveling for women in the first century must have been most challenging, to say the least!
b) She would have to trust that God would meet all her needs as she traveled for the sake of the Lord’s work.
4. She had proven herself as a servant of the Lord.
a) She was known to have helped many.
b) Paul used a special word to describe her help (“prostatis”). This word describes a person who offers great assistance to others.
A PERSONAL WORD OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Paul wrote about how he had received help from Phoebe. (The Scriptures are silent concerning this help rendered to Paul. But then the focus of the Scriptures is not to record every little detail of work done for the Lord). His personal word acknowledging her assistance speaks volumes of his regard for Phoebe. His word of commendation reinforces the fact that he had the highest regard for her! Paul teaches us, by example, how we ought to appreciate friends and servants of the Lord.