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 “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.