Greetings and Love Expressed! I share in Paul's enthusiasm as he was delighted to introduce the Christians at Rome to a sister servant of the church at Cenchrea. Paul often makes a point to grant blessings and recognition to each who proved to benefit the spreading of the Gospel and Christ's ministry of reconciliation. He does not always go into detail about the specific aid to which they provided the ministry. However, we can be assured it was something for all to note; the early church as well as current-day believers. Otherwise, each mention would not be necessary.
Just as Paul made an intentional reference to this sister servant in his letter, I have a purpose in doing the same. I recently met Phebe in my search for examples of servant saints. I understand that the very title of "saint" should allude to the embodiment of a servant. Very likely, during the time scripture was being penned, it did. My attempt to locate a representation, that God had placed in scripture, was purely focused on someone who cared for the saints in their distress. It led me straight to Romans 16.
Paul not only implored the church at Rome to receive Phebe and the other saints (into their community of believers), but he encouraged them to do unto her as she had graciously done unto many. He wanted her to receive the blessings she was known for administering to so many. This plea extends beyond the early church to the church in the age of grace; us.
So, what was Phebe's service? And why would Paul exhort us to help her? I believe Paul, and ultimately God, wants us to understand this walk with Christ isn't something we can do on our own. Paul could not serve where he was placed without assistance from other believers, and neither can we. The title of "saint" is given to all who believe. The title of "servant" belongs to those who commit to following Christ and laying down their lives for others.
Phebe is praised for being a "succourer of many", including Paul. A helper of others in their distress was her notable character. Lord, how I have benefited from the care of so many saints in my distress. May this forum be a virtual portal that leads many saints to healing and reconciliation in their walk with Christ.