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,)
What an amazing testimony of Jesus Christ was the household of Stephanas. Paul writes that they lived selfless lives in order to minister to the saints. They were addicted, or had devoted their lives, to minister to others. Would to God that I had such an addiction as they had! How radical this family was. No doubt they had needs like any other family, but their understanding of the gospel caused them to look outward instead of inward.
When someone is addicted to something, their whole life revolves around fulfilling that addiction. They are unable to function apart from having whatever substance they are addicted to. Before we were born again, we were addicted to ourselves and fulfilling our pleasures and desires. Even when we did do things for others, the motives were not for the glory of God but for a “pat on the back”, as they say. After the regenerating work of God’s Spirit takes place, the mind or heart of Jesus Christ “kicks in” and He begins to reshape our values and purpose in life. Christ, not I, becomes the focus and reason for existence. This new addiction begins to change the way we think about people, all people. Suddenly, the needs of others becomes a part of this addiction that must be met. But in seeking to meet those needs, we care not if any human sees or knows what we do or how much. We now live to please an Audience of One.
Let me ask you a question, beloved. Would Paul write of you (or me) that we are addicted to the ministry of the saints? It is unfortunate that the mentality of most church people today is being challenged by the coronavirus. We are not in looking for ways to be addicted to serving others, but looking for others to be addicted to serving them. This inferior addiction has been fed and has given birth to an “it’s all about me” mentality and what I like or what makes me feel good, from the preaching, to the “worship”, to the bells and whistles of the church building or its programs to meet “my” needs. We don’t do hard stuff anymore. Sacrifice and cross bearing is not in our vocabulary. Everything must be sterile, with no issues that demand prayer, forgiveness, and bearing one another’s burdens.
The coronavirus has put all of that to rest for the moment, and for those who are addicted to the ministry of the saints, nothing has changed. Ministry continues. In fact, their addiction is more evident than ever. Death to self and ministering to the saints is the addiction that every child of God has. Are you an addict for Jesus, beloved? God make it so, beginning with me. Selah