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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 [KJV]
This past Sunday my pastor continued a focus on the concept of serving. The foundation scripture for this series has been 1 Corinthians 16:15 with emphasis on the house of Stephanas and their extension of service towards others.
I’ve highlighted the phrase “they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” due to the fact that Pastor Oldfield also emphasized this phrase. And what a phrase it is! To quote from his introduction, it is uncommon to use the word “addicted” when talking about prosperous things.
Our society has given the word a negative connotation. The fact of the matter is the word is neutral. It can be used for negative and positive meanings.
That said, what a concept…addicted to service. The New Living Translation [NLT] says “they are spending their lives in service to God’s people.” If a person like this existed in our society today they would definitely be an outcast. Why is that? How have we come so far from this kind of lifestyle? When did MY needs become that much more important than YOUR needs?
As Christians, Christ followers or representations of Christ, how have we allowed ourselves to look nothing like Him? We know that Jesus came not to be served but rather to serve (Matt. 20:28). So why aren’t we following that direction?
Humans in general are great at finding reasons, we’ll call them excuses, as to why they are unable to complete a task. “I’m too busy,” “I’m not skilled in that area,” or “If you knew what I did this week, you wouldn’t want me to help.” See here’s the deal, when Jesus called all his disciples they came from different walks of life: poor, rich, noble, unjust, intelligent, dumb…and the list could go on. He was often criticized by the “righteous” men of the day for spending time with such people. This shows me that if the Son of God would rather spend the limited time he had on Earth with those that society frowns upon, perhaps we are just right for service. In the eyes of our Heavenly Father we are all sinners, broken people in need of a savior.
With the realization that I am no better than anyone else, why can’t I serve you? And there you have it. I can serve you! And you can serve those around you! And it doesn’t have to be with gifts or exorbitant amounts of time with someone, although those methods are ways of service. It could simply be smiling at a coworker, encouraging a neighbor, mowing a lawn, washing a car, babysitting a friend’s children one night so they can go on a date. The options are limitless, and there is really no wrong way to serve someone if your heart is to elevate them above yourself.
Let’s be addicted. Let’s spend our lives in service to those around us. The impact we could have on the world around us is great, don’t miss a moment of it!
If you are ever stumped as to how you can serve someone…ask them. In fact, I’m sure that you asking will bring a smile to their face. Make the phrase “What can I do to help?” a part of your everyday conversation.