We don’t know exactly what ministry work Phoebe did (some say she was a deacon), but whatever it was must have been significant and executed with excellence. In Romans 16:1-2, Paul gave Phoebe high praise for her service. Here is what we can learn from her:
1. Phoebe was a servant. Most people don’t attach much importance to someone whose business card reads servant, but God does. The kingdom of Heaven doesn’t only need more leaders, preachers, teachers, etc. The kingdom of Heaven is in need of more servants – people who don’t mind not being in the spotlight, people who put others before themselves, people who faithfully do small things right.
God isn’t just looking for more Pauls; He needs a lot more Phoebes, too.
Serving others is one of the highest callings on this side of Heaven. Elisabeth Elliot said, “The power of servanthood commands respect. It does not demand it.” Most of the times when we think of Jesus the Christ, we think of Him as Savior (and well we should); but He was first Servant of all.
2. Phoebe was a helper of many. When we see others hurting, do we comfort them? When someone is lonely, are we friendly to them? Do we stop to help others whenever and wherever we can?
As followers of Jesus the Christ, our lives should reflect the care and concern that He showed to people when He was here on earth. The Bible tells us that Jesus was often moved with compassion at the crowds that came to hear Him. We weren’t put here to hurt people, but to help and to heal.
3. Phoebe was commended. We shouldn’t do good works to get commended, but all of our work should be worthy of praise. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” We do good works not to receive praise from people, but to bring glory to God. When we get to Heaven, may our life’s deeds award us the highest praise of all from the Father – “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord.”