Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Preparing for Pentecost 29

The last five chps of 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed are dedicated to specific examples of the Jesus Creed in action in the pages of the New Testament.
Today we look at how Paul spoke about Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2: “1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant [deacon] of the church in Cenchrea. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.”
I begin with a little poke in our collective eye: it is a pity more of us don’t know about the many women who are mentioned in the Bible, let alone in the New Testament. Phoebe is one of those women who were powerful witnesses of the gospel. I could go on. I won’t.
What I’d like to call your attention today is this: love affirms the gifts of others. Paul speaks glowing words about Phoebe. How about you? Do you affirm the gifts of others? And, do you affirm the gifts of women in your community of faith?
Affirm gender
Affirm “offices” — Phoebe was a “deacon” (not a “deaconness”) and this term is used for those who served and supported and financed and led and pastored.
Affirm virtues — Phoebe was a “saint.”
Affirm specific ministries — Phoebe’s big contribution was benefaction. She provided funds for the Pauline mission.
Love concretely affirms; it affirms the gifts of others.
Pentecost empowers us to be gifted and to affirm the gifts the Spirit grants to others.

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posted May 1, 2008 at 6:59 am

I can remember the exact moment when one of the elders at our church, who was also both a friend and one of our teacher/preachers looked me right in the eye, and with great joy, said, “You have the gift of teaching!” He was happy for me. He rejoiced in God’s goodness. There was not a hint of jealousy, or suspicion or a desire to quench the Spirit.
Frankly, it changed my life and changed our church.
To me, this is one of the most powerful ministries of the Body … to look closely at people, to see the gifts God has given to them, and then (with joy!) to name those gifts. And in a church where women’s giftedness has been “caged,” it is especially empowering when male leaders call out gifts in women … not in a patronizing way; in a spirit of mutuality and partnership.
I love this insight into Phoebe.

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posted May 1, 2008 at 8:34 am

uh… did we skip part 6? i thought it was just a typo earlier this week when you said it was our last week… Phoebe is Day 38 and we’re on Day 29. What’s up?

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Scot McKnight

posted May 1, 2008 at 9:31 am

I have to be done by Friday when we fly off to South Africa, so I had to skip some.

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posted May 1, 2008 at 12:28 pm

And we suffer symptoms of withdrawl – no bible study for two weeks … what will I do?

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posted May 1, 2008 at 2:02 pm

RJS…hehehe…I was wondering how Scot was going to be finished by Friday…so, we get the Abridged Version, eh?
I guess we will have to struggle by on our own…I may have to blog through that great section on 1 Cor 13 myself!
Phoebe is a wonderful topic, however, and I am grateful to you and to Paul for taking this opportunity to AFFIRM the sisters (as well as the brothers — although they were a little more accustomed to being affirmed 8) )
I will miss the beginning post of your series today, RJS, sadly … as well as Friday’s finale to this saunter through your new book, Scot … this here local PTSA President is off in a few hours to the PTA Convention in Seattle…
Have a great trip to South Africa — look forward to catching up with the Jesus Creeders on Monday! Cinco de Mayo!!

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