1 Corinthians 16:15 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,) (emphasis mine)
The Bible truly is a living Book! No matter how many times you may read a certain passage, something fresh will always pop out! I admit that I am often guilty of skimming the last several verses of the epistles where Paul closes with his greetings. That may be why I’ve never noticed this particular phrase: “they have addicted themselves to the ministry.”
This morning that phrase struck a chord within me. Being in a ministry family, I am very involved with our church, and make no mistake- I love it! There’s no doubt in my mind that the Lord has called us there, and I enjoy the people and the work that I do there, yet I had to ask myself, “Have I addicted myself to the ministry?”
Today, when we hear the word “addict,” it’s never a favorable term. It brings to mind an uncontrollable urge, desire, or need for something physically, emotionally, or spiritually unhealthy. However, we know that God would not have us controlled by anything other than the Holy Spirit!
Notice that the verse says they “addicted themselves to” not “they were addicted to.” They made a conscious and deliberate choice here! When the house of Stephanas addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, they appointed or devoted themselves to a position of service. I believe that if the apostles or someone in the church needed help, Stephanas’ house felt it was their responsibility to make sure the need was met.
So am I devoted in the same way? If a brother or sister in Christ has a need, whether physical or spiritual, do I feel it’s my job to meet it or to make sure someone else does? Or do I sometimes slough it off, thinking that I’m too busy and someone else can handle it? There’s no doubt that with seven children and a household to run, I’m pretty busy in my day-to-day life, but that doesn’t negate my responsibilities to my fellow Christians.
I want to make the same decision that the house of Stephanas did. I want to addict myself to my fellow saints. I want their burdens to be my burdens, their needs to be my needs. Addiction can be a good thing!