The Bible is filled with stories about wonderful and talented women whom God used to bless and increase His divine ministerial purposes. These women were willing to serve, to bless, and to sacrifice of themselves, their resources, and abilities for Him. Paul highlights three such women in Romans 16.
“I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchreae: that you may receive her in the Lord, in a manner worthy of the saints … ”
Paul compared her work to those of saints. A saint is one who is recognized as being very holy because of the way he or she lives. A person who is very good, kind, or patient is often considered “saintly.”
“… and assist her in whatever business she has need of you: for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.”
Phoebe must have been an extraordinary helper to have been noted in such a lauded way. A helper, an aide, and a blessing she was personally to the great Apostle Paul, but also to the church in which she served. What a commendation to her!
Missionary ladies, missionary wives, and missions workers, you are not only great blessings to the ministries of the region and countries where you labor, but to the Church of God, as well. You are the “saintly” feet and hands carrying the Great Commission.
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus: who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise, greet the church that is in their house.”
Apparently this couple, of whom Paul writes, were in danger and risked their lives for the Gospel. Many of our missionary women also face peril every day in the areas where they minister and live. May they be assured that the World Missions family, and their brothers and sisters in Christ, pray greatly for their daily protection and safety. May God continually build a wall of defense around them and their families.
Priscilla and Aquila also had a church in their home. How many of our missionary women have opened their private homes and places of abode to minister to those in need? Whether feeding the poor, or feeding souls, they have willingly shared their home with others. May God bless their endeavors to reach those nearest to them.
“Greet Mary, who labored much for us.”
Women on the missionary fields of labor: Thank you for “laboring much,” knowing that “your labor is not in vain,” as the Lord says in His Holy Word. You are appreciated and loved. Whether you are planting seeds to be reaped later, or laboring and gathering the present-day harvest, may God bless your labor.
As I have had the opportunity to travel with my husband sometimes, I have personally seen the sacrifice and passion our missionary women have for the ministry. Everywhere I go, I meet “Phoebes,” “Pricillas,” and “Marys.” You inspire and compel me personally to endeavor to do more than ever for the sake of the Kingdom. Thank you for your labor of love. It does not go unnoticed.
My prayer for all our women serving in missions’ ministries is that of Paul’s in Romans 15:13 … “May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Judy Cochran Griffis is the wife of World Missions Director, Dr. David M. Griffis. She is a published author, has a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education, and has served as a public school teacher.