A Succorer of Many
Romans 12:9 - 1 Cor. 1:25
In the book of Romans we read of a woman named Phebe.
Not much is mentioned about her, in fact; only two verses speak of her. But within those two verses we learn what an amazing person she must have been.
“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea… 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.”(Romans 16:1&2)
Perhaps, if we were to look carefully at our own life, we might see a resemblance of the life of Phebe.
She was a sister, and a servant in the Church.
But there is more to Phebe’s life than just those two sentiments.
We are led to understand that she was a sister, a servant, and a succorer of many.
My favorite description of her is one that comes from assumption on my part. I love Paul’s counsel, “assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you.” As a sister, a servant, and a succorer of many, Phebe must have been very busy. Paul noted and appreciated her effort, and asked that others would assist her in her service. What a remarkable woman she must have been, what a great compliment to be known as a succorer of many.
I think of Phebe and I want to know more.
How does this succoring work? I am reminded of a line from a favorite hymn, “As thy days may demand so thy succor shall be…” (How Firm a Foundation) From this line we come to understand that the succor is given according to what the day demands.
Do you know what it is to ache? To yearn for something that is unobtainable? Have you felt a weight so heavy you have not strength enough to bear it? Has sleepless night after sleepless night ever left you emotionally exhausted? In the darkest moments of your life have you ever thought there might be nowhere else to turn?
If so, then your heart has been taught. Through your own personal experience your days have demanded that you learn powerful lessons in succoring.
Would you now be willing to succor someone whose day demands aching? What if the day demands mourning? Perhaps you know someone whose day demands a burden beyond their ability to bear.
You have been there before ––what would have brought you comfort, peace, or strength?
We may not know just what it is someone else is going through, but chances are we have felt many of the same emotions. We become a succorer, a means of help, when we walk beside another and smooth the road ahead.
In my life it has been my great blessing to be surrounded by many women such as Phebe.
Sisters, servants, succorers.
These women have a gift for looking outside of themselves to see how they might bless the life of another.
Their succoring has made itself manifest in their way of life. In times of distress they are women of the covenant ––comforting those in need of comfort, mourning with those who mourn, bearing burdens that cannot be shouldered alone.
Their giving is not constrained by hours or time. They are on call whenever they are needed, no matter the inconvenience to their own pursuits. Leaving behind a project, giving up an entire afternoon, going without sleep, or food, or privilege, they give what is needed most when it is most needed.
Their love is unconditional. Their service is not limited to those who will bear the greatest dividend. They see with the Savior’s eyes, they love with the heart of the Lord. No person is of lesser consequence. No deed is undeserving of their time. Theirs is not to judge the necessity, for if there is a need, no matter how small, somehow they know how to fill it.
Their service knows no bounds. They are not caught up in casseroles, or calendaring a visit. Instead, they care, and because of the caring, they serve. To one a visit, to another, a phone call. One may need a listening ear and a word of encouragement, another a shoulder to cry on. Some require time and effort in their behalf, others just to be remembered along the way. These succorers know, and as sisters, they serve.
Some serve out of duty, some serve out of love. It is as we progress from one level to the next that we learn charity ––the pure love of Christ, the love that cannot fail.
“And he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:12)
He, knowing how to succor, He, a succorer of many, asks us to succor also. To help. To run to.
“Succor those that stand in need of your succor.” Mosiah 4:16
“Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” D&C 81:5
He needs our help.
And so we open our hearts. And we serve. And, like Phebe, we become a succorer of many.