Building People Up – Part 1
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. 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. Romans 16:1-2
Every church needs people who are committed to supporting and encouraging each other. And a great example from the Bible of an encourager is Phoebe. Paul wrote about her: ‘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’ (Romans 16:1-2). It’s the only time Phoebe is mentioned, but we can learn a lot about her from these short sentences. Paul describes her as a deacon and a benefactor. ‘Deacon’ comes from the Greek word diakonon, and can also be translated as ‘servant’. ‘Benefactor’ in Greek is prostatis, and this same word was often applied to Olympic coaches who supported athletes and made sure they were trained and equipped to give their best. It’s clear from these words that Phoebe was a real supporter and encourager in the church. So how can we apply these attributes to ourselves? Let’s start by asking ourselves these questions: ‘How can I help to improve another person’s life – what can I do to make it better?’ ‘Who could I support and strengthen?’ ‘How could I encourage someone today?’ Have a think back over your life. Is there a person who encouraged you? Maybe there’s been a teacher, family member, friend or pastor who’s helped you, supported you and challenged you to aim to be the best you can be. Could you be that person for someone else?
Heavenly Father, help me be one that encourages and builds others – in Your Name, Amen