30 April 2002

"I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)"-1 Corinthians 16:15 What a beautiful thought we have before us today, of the house of Stephanas, who were "addicted" to the ministry of the saints". It is common to hear of those addicted to drugs, to alcohol, to tobacco, to television, to gambling and to certain kinds of music. So seldom do we hear of those addicted to ministering to the saints. Addiction goes like this: Whatever thing or substance one becomes addicted to, they have surrendered to it and it has become their greatest source of pleasure. This house of Stephanas had surrendered themselves to the Lord and His followers. Ministering to them was their greatest source of pleasure. As we said, a beautiful thought. And what is ministering anyway? Simply put, it is doing something for someone else expecting nothing in return. I am sure we must become smaller in our own eyes to become so addicted. It must involve self emptying, just as Paul described Jesus, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves"-Philippians 2:3. This is diametrically opposed to the thinking of the world, to the flesh and to our natural instinct. But the joy of this posture is beyond description. We find Jesus in such a posture as He washed the disciples feet. He told His disciples, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." The happiest people I know, and very probably that you know, are like this. They constantly wait on others and minister to their needs. Joy is found in this addiction. There is much left unsaid in this scripture, for we are made to wonder how many were involved in this house ... .wife, children, servants? Yet, they were all of one mind and one heart. Stephanas must have been a good example to all his house! And how did they minister we should also wonder? Was it of their substance, their carnal things, food, clothing, encouragement. Surely, all that was left unsaid is as profitable for us to consider as what is said for it allows us to consider the many ways of ministering to others. Equally, it allows us to examine our own ministering. Apparently, the Lord was well pleased with this addiction. They have found their place in His book of remembrance. May their tribe increase!!