** I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Chenchrea;…for she hath been a succorer of many…** Romans 16:1,2
Over the years, I have realized that there are many who have no idea what their place is in the body of Christ. Maybe it is because they see full time ministry workers dedicating their lives to God’s people and the lost and think that somehow they don’t measure up because they see what they do, in their minds, is less significant.
I hope that this post will encourage those who have yet to find their place in the body of Christ or that see little value in what they do for His name.
As we read through the 16th chapter of Romans, we see some very interesting and impacting language from Paul, the apostle. He is in prison, thinking on all those he knows in Christ. He is remembering their labor and the asset they were to the cause of Christ. What is really interesting to me is that he never mentions the big shots. He only talks about those who worked in the background, faithfully doing whatever little bit they could.
He mentions Phebe…a helper and a servant, to many! Phebe was not someone that showed up once in a while to lend a hand, but she dedicated herself to helping, however she could, to whom she could, whenever she could. She was ‘famous’ for it. It seems that everyone knew they could count on her to be there for them. Today, thousands of years later, we hear about the ‘little’ that she did.
Paul then mentions Priscilla and Aquila…helpers as well…which we know from the Book of Acts that they helped others understand the Scriptures and the Gospel itself and why it was different from what they already understood about faith in God. They taught and they helped and they did it with great sacrifice to themselves. My guess is that they suffered for their labor in Christ and the church they had in their home.
Then there is Mary, mentioned also in Romans 16…who just kept busy…she worked for the good of the believers in Jesus. She did what she could, maybe she wasn’t fancy or highly educated, she just knew how to keep busy for the good of others.
Paul greets several others that he held in fond remembrance and later he also mentions Urbane, another helper.
Many others are mentioned by name, but without a lot of description as to what they did or who they are. Maybe he mentions them simply because they showed up, day after day, week after week. Their presence alone was an encouragement. Sometimes, I think, we underestimate the impact of just filling a seat. Have you ever been to church in August when everyone is on vacation? Any pastor is grateful when someone shows up during the summer months. Their presence alone helps him and his family to keep going.
Paul continues to name many others, all with the same idea of being helpers and being faithful. Yes, it is great to have Sunday School teachers and piano players, but the thing that fills a church with energy is people. Any people. All people. People that come to learn, lend a hand, and be an encouragement. People that just want to be a part of the community and to do any little thing that they can. Like giving someone a hug, helping take care of tired children, cleaning the bathrooms, sending a note to the sick, or praying for marriages and teens.
All of us can give, pray, help, love, embrace, encourage, pick up garbage, sweep floors or shovel snow. We are all called to serve, we are all called to love and serve the brethren and to reach out to the lost.
So, if anyone is feeling like they are not making an impact. …YOU ARE!! Just by showing up is an encouragement to everyone. Being faithful to the Lord impacts other church members and it also impacts our lost family and friends. Let’s never forget that!
Any little thing we do to keep the Kingdom of God moving forward is also a help. Paul tells us that over and over in this chapter. It is remembered by those we help, by those who see us helping, and by the Lord.
So, go ahead and lend a hand wherever you can. Paul remembered those that helped. Your pastor remembers those that help. The Lord remembers every little thing you have ever done that helped keep someone else on their feet and in the faith. Let’s all be like Phebe and be a helper!!