Let all that you do be done in love. Now, brothers and sisters, you know that members of the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. This same verse in the King James Version reads they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. I urge you to put yourselves at the service of such people and of everyone who works and toils with them. (1 Corinthians 16:14-17, New Revised Standard Version)
The text says that the household of Stephanas’ focus was ministry. To minister is to serve. In essence, Stephanas’ entire household was committed or devoted to serving saints. I don’t think the words committed or devoted are strong enough which is why I presented also, the KJV’s wording “addicted” I believe Paul used the word addicted because he wanted us to understand the strength, and potency of their desire to serve. The word addicted means hooked, dependent, compulsion, habitual. Paul was trying to let us know that this family wasn’t just your typical church attending saints. The work of the Lord had become habit-forming. When an alcoholic or drug addict is addicted to drinking or drugs they’re not just hooked physically, every fiber of their being becomes consumed or preoccupied with getting the next drink or fix. This family was the same way. They needed to attend to the desires and necessaries of the saints. It became a must have, or should I say a must do for them. It appears that they had taken a taste from the life springing well of love and wanted every saint to have an opportunity to experience this kind of love.
Addictions usually spill over into every area of a person’s life, and like any other, the addition to the love of God has its aftermath as well. It too has its far-reaching and life-transforming consequences. It will move you to a place of low degree causing you to place others and their needs above yours. It will cause you to give your coat off of your back and, if necessary, your shoes and shirt too. It will cause you to addict yourself to the needs of the saints. If there is a need, you are more than happy and willing to provide for the saints. It would not matter what you do for them, so long as you are being a vessel by which to extend the love of Jesus to them. Loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is the way that the world will know that we are indeed Christians and born of God. Like the song says, they will know we are Christians by our love.
So friends, in light of all of the things in life that battle for our attention, let us examine ourselves today. Let us ask the appropriate questions. What are my addictions? On what am I spending inordinate amounts of my time, energy, resources, or money? Does my addiction originate with my love of God and does it extend to others? And, finally, have I made a choice to addict myself to serving God’s people? As we commit ourselves to the work of the ministry, becoming a positive example to live and model the love and compassion of Jesus, it will become habit forming and even contagious to all that it touches. So let’s reject everything that does not originate with the love of God and let us addict ourselves to the work of the ministry. And henceforth have a testimony like the household of Stephanas and Joshua, as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.