NOW I introduce and commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae, That you may receive her in the Lord [with a Christian welcome], as saints (God’s people) ought to receive one another. And help her in whatever matter she may require assistance from you, for she has been a helper of many including myself [shielding us from suffering]. (Romans 16:1, 2 AMP)
This is kind of a weird thing but when I first read the Bible it was all punishment and harshness. Those were the glasses I wore on my eyes every time I read it. It left me dry and a bit fearful of that kind of God. Then someone teaching Bible study read where Jesus was compassionate when He healed. And God is love. Well that began to remove my harsh glasses. Little by little I began to read other less obvious statements through the eyes of God, this time not harsh God but the One who is love. So this is the way I read Romans 16:2 now.
Donna I love you. Receive Phoebe in The Lord with A Christian (loving) welcome. I love you so help her whatever way she may need because she helped us by shielding us from suffering.
Rather than being empty and having to serve, I feel full of Him so that I can welcome Phoebe properly. I want to find out her needs so that I can take care of them because not only did she do my pastor a favor, she actually protected his group, probably at risk to herself. That’s love from her.