The name Phoebe means “pure”, “radiant”, “bright, or to shine”
Phoebe was likely among the first to hear Paul preach the gospel in Cenchreae. I can
just imagine the truth she heard set within her heart a blazing fire and it could not be put
out. Paul refers to Phoebe as a benefactor in Romans 16:1-2 (NIV):
Paul likely describes her as a benefactor because she was used with favor to open
doors for Paul. She gave of her wealth and her time and talents. She gave these things
consistently not based on the whims of emotions or for a gain of status but out of a
devotion to Christ.
Her life reminds me of Proverbs 3:3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them
around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.4Then you will win favor and a
good name in the sight of God and man. There came a time when Paul had entrusted
local leaders to lead the church so he could continue his travels. He chose Phoebe as
one of these leaders, In fact several months later Paul chose phoebe as his
representative as he prepared to go speak to the Romans he sent a letter ahead and
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to
receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may
need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.”
He opens up her introduction by saying “I commend to you.” He held her in a place of
high honor and value. He trusted her character and she had to of had such consistency
that he knew she was trustworthy.
I was in complete awe of her being mentioned and introduced as deacon of the church.
Deacon is described as someone with special rankings within the life of the church.
A trusted leader in the faith. In the early church and this story in particular, I see a
modern-day connection to the local church. Paul was a blazing leader who set the
standard of the church and then entrusted other leaders to continue to lead in strength
and truth. The modern-day church mimics that model in Campus Pastors.
Phoebe is only mentioned in a few verses but her life was so radiant, she shines Christ
so bright it didn’t take much to catch wind of who she was and whom she was devoted.
Phoebe’s life is recorded as biblical proof that you do not need a constant spotlight on
your life to leave a legacy that shines through generations. May it only take a few
sentences to describe my life in such a way that others catch the wind of God’s power
and truth through generations.