Whenever I am reading the last chapter of Paul’s Epistles, I usually pay attention to the people he appreciates and celebrates for the roles they played in his ministry.
While studying 1 Corinthians chapter 16 this morning, I came across this beautifully written verses:
“I urge you, brethren—you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints— that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us. I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.” 1 Corinthians 16:15-18.
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We usually pay more attention to the frontline ministers of God and forget that some people are playing vital roles to keep their ministries going. Their supports and services helped (and is still helping) those ministers to fulfil their ministries.
Stephanas meaning “crowned” was a member of the church at Corinth, whose family were among the limited number of believers whom Paul the apostle baptized and whom Paul refers to as the “first-fruits of Achaia.
Some Bible scholars opined that Stephanas was the “jailer of Philippi” (Acts 16:25-34). The First Epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi some six years after the jailer’s conversion, and he was with the apostle there at that time
Brother Stephanas and his family, with people like Fortunatus and Achaicus may not have written any book in the Bible, or preached any written sermon, but their contributions to the Body of Christ is recorded in heaven.
From the way Paul acknowledges the household of brother Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, it seems to me that their homes were the homes of every minister that came to preach in their church. They opened their homes to the brethren and to God’s servants.
I believe brother Paul stayed in their houses whenever he visited the church at Corinth. It is possible that brother and sister Stephanas vacated their bedroom for Paul as long as he stayed. “They devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.”
In fact, Paul explained it better in verses 17 and 18: “I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.”
They supplied what was lacking. Maybe the church did not have enough money to host Paul and his team, they contributed the money. The church did not have enough rooms for Paul’s entourage, they willingly opened their doors for them. Perhaps the public address system was bad, they ran to the market and bought brand new ones.
Stephanas and his household, Fortunatus and Achaicus did not write any book in the Bible, but their contribution to the Body of Christ is documented both in the Bible and in heaven.
Ask God to Reveal Your Assignment in the Kingdom to You.
All of us may not preach. In fact, there are people you will ask to stand on the platform and speak to people and they will never come to church again.
All of us may not be priests, pastors, apostles, evangelists, teachers and prophets. But God can instruct you to serve the people He called. He may bless you with money and inform you that the purpose of the money is to take care of priests or pastors and make sure they lack nothing.
He may bless you with uncommon wisdom to help solve complex issues. He may bless you with the gift of service and administration to help run your local church professionally.
Don’t ever be a bench warmer in the Kingdom. There is a place you can function effectively. You can go, groan or give. You can preach, pray or pay. If you can’t go and preach, then pray for those who are preaching, or give your resources to support them. But by all means, add value to the Kingdom of God.
As a young minister, I told God that my car is for the Kingdom use. I usually pick every minister we invited for programmes from their homes, bring them to the venue of the programme, and drop them off after the program.
I remember the day I went to drop a minister at the middle of the night. In fact, I got back home around 2:AM in the morning because the program ended very late. Guess what? Those ministers I used to serve with my car are now my friends in the ministry.
I urge you to make your own contribution to the Kingdom. Let there be something you can show to Jesus when you get to heaven. You will say to Him:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 47-8.
Wisdom is profitable to direct!
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