“She [Phoebe] has been a patron of many and of myself as well” (Rom. 16:2).
We don’t use that word “patron” much today, but it means that Phoebe was serving an integral role in advancing the kingdom by helping the body of Christ in very practical ways. Paul’s needs—and many others’—were being met by this woman’s service. Scholars think Phoebe was probably a single, successful business woman. She was noted as a “servant of the church.”
I know someone like her and perhaps you do as well. She’s not spending her years as a single woman roaming the streets or the Internet to find romance, but is expending her energies where God has placed her, and sharing the gospel with all she encounters. A nurse by profession, she answers calls from people in need regularly. They call on this “Phoebe” because they know she lives with a servant’s heart and doesn’t view the request as an intrusion. I regularly witness her sacrificial service in giving medical aid to friends and family—everything from all-night vigils to doing an emergency stitch-up job at a church event.
She not only uses her gifts as a registered nurse to serve others, but gives of herself anytime, anywhere, and to anyone, in obedience to God’s direction. She provides free childcare for couples who need date nights, takes meals to moms recovering from surgery, takes pre-teens on “Friday fun night adventures,” and pours her finances into ministries that advance the gospel across the world.
I’m referring to my friend under the alias “Phoebe” because she never wants to be pointed out or have attention drawn to herself, but deflects the praise to Christ. Although I’m not mentioning her name here, I think it’s mentioned much in heaven, and one day her Lord will tenderly speak her name in public commendation for service in His kingdom.
Do you have a “Phoebe” in your life that you’d like to commend? Please share with us practical ways she serves the body of Christ. Your story might encourage other single women who are looking for their ministry niche.