In many ministries, there are always people that claim they do not know what they can do in the ministry or that they are not able to do anything; so they do nothing. Phebe in Romans 16 was not such a woman.
She was known as a “servant of the church which is at Cencgrea” (Romans 16:1). There she met the many needs of those in her church and surrounding areas as a “succourer.” “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.” Rom. 16:1-2
A “succourer”, also spelled “succorer,” is a person that gives help where a need is seen and assists those that are suffering and need relief in difficult situations. They give assistance to those that could use the relief.
These “succourers” are often those that have the gift of “ministry” (Romans 12:7). Their minds are not so concerned about their own needs, but are rather on the needs of others. They are the opposite of a self-purposing, selfish person. “Others”, “Others” is their drive, rather than the all too common “Me. Me. Me first” that others live by.
Her bent on assisting others made her most trustworthy. Even Paul the Apostle knew that whatever she asked for as she traveled to other ministries should be granted (Rom. 2:2) her as she would use whatever she needed or had to meet another’s needs. Paul also was helped by this woman and it was her that (mostly likely) had his letter delivered to the Romans. “Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.” (Written after verse 27.)
As Paul needed the help of Phebe, the succourer, so do many today. Those that are stranded in a bad situation, perhaps rearing a child by themselves or looking over an aging parent could use such assistance. Those battling a severe illness or are in a financial crunch could certainly use a helping, encouraging hand. That ministry worker in your church, who seemingly does all the work, could also use a hand. Most everyone, one time or other, has a need for a trustworthy, reliable Phebe. Do you see a need? Will you step up and fill Phebe’s shoes? We are a needy people, and we all need some help.