A Christian leader was once scheduled to speak at a big event when he became ill. Despite all of his attempts to get better, he had to cancel his engagement but, before he did, he sent his sponsors the notes from his message. They were very short and contained only one word: “OTHERS.”
The Bible is very clear that the Christian life is all about others. In the words of Matthew 19:19: “[You should] love your neighbor as yourself.” This means that you should love him with as much care and attention and devotion as you already give to yourself. You should love him with the same degree of intensity that you show to your own person. This is seen clearly in the office of deacon.
The word deacon means “servant.” It is an office created solely for the purpose of serving others in the church. God could have created all sorts of offices to do all sorts of things in the church, but He chose to create this one to do only one thing because service is that important to God. Love is that important to Him and, this week, we are going to look at the female version of this position: the office of deaconess. Romans 16:1 says, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.”
The word “servant” here is diakonos or “deaconess.” The way it is written makes it sound like Phoebe was more than just a regular servant in the church. She had an official role to play. She carried the title of "servant." First Timothy 3:11 also states: “Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.” The Greek word for “women” in that verse can refer to women or wives in general but, in this context, it refers to more. As he is writing about the elders and deacons of the church, Paul tells us that there is another position that should be included among these other two. He tells us about the office of deaconess.
However you look at it, the point is clear that the Lord wants us to focus on others. He wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves and He has created some positions in the church to help us with that that. He has given us “servants” to help us love others. Join us this week as we look at how that relates to the women of the church. Join us as we talk about the office of deaconess. We meet at 9:30 at 46024 Riverside Drive in Chilliwack. See you there! – Jeremy Cagle