Leadership begins and ends with trust. Followers must be able to trust their leaders, and leaders must be able to trust their followers. One without the other is a lopsided relationship. Booker T. Washington said, “Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.”
Many people trusted the Apostle Paul as one of the prominent leaders of the early church. But his leadership was successful because he had people he could also trust. One of his most trusted companions was someone most people in the first century would not expect: a woman named Phoebe.
In that culture, women had very little say or role in leadership. Not only was there no seat at the table for women, but society knew women as little more than servants. But Paul viewed women as children of God who could and should be trusted to bring Christianity to the next generations. In Romans 16, Paul mentions Phoebe who had been a tremendous help to the apostle. Because of her, the letter to the Romans safely arrived in their hands. The length of this letter alone would have been costly to produce, let alone for it to be delivered. Paul viewed Phoebe as the right person for the job. He couldn’t have predicted it at the time, but she delivered one of the most important letters in the history of humanity.
Paul wrote that the Romans were to welcome her with open arms and in an honorable manner (v. 2a). Knowing she was a noblewoman who could be trusted, he told them to give her whatever she needed (v. 2b). She was a true gift to Paul, the Romans, and us. Like all Christian relationships, their bond was built on trust in Christ and trust in one another.
>> As we conclude our study on unlikely leaders, consider how and where God might be calling you to lead! What leadership lesson has been challenging to you? How do you think God might be stretching you to grow as a godly leader?
Father, use the Scriptures we have studied and the prayers we have prayed this month to penetrate our hearts and minds with the truths You want us to know. May Your Word transform us to reflect and glorify You.