Refreshing Christians

Refreshing.WaterStephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus.

Do you know who they are? In what book of the Bible are they mentioned?  Old or New Testament?  You won’t find them in Hebrews 11–The Spiritual “Hall of Fame.”

More than likely they are reserved for the answer to a Bible Trivia game.  They are filed under Miscellaneous.  Unidentified. Or unknown.

Give up?  

They were three members of the Corinthian church that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 16:15-19.  So who were they?  And what did they do?  Well, Paul knew and so did the Corinthian church.

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. 

These three men, unheard of, unheralded and unknown, find their place in sacred scripture not because of some great deed.  World shaking exploit. Or miraculous work.  These men are honored because of their devotion. Their ministry.  Their encouragement.

Paul pays them a great compliment.  He calls them “refreshing Christians.”  To refresh means to provide rest. To renew strength. To rejuvenate.   How?  We don’t exactly know.  It is believed that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus during his third missionary journey.    So these three men came to Ephesus and supplied something for Paul that was lacking.  Something he needed.  Something that lifted and encouraged him.

Today we need more folks like Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus.  Willing to work. Ready to labor.  Equipped for ministry.  Not waiting for some great or grandoise task, but humbly seeking to serve in whatever way they can.   We need more refreshing Christians!

When spiritual labor tires both body and soul, we need refreshing Christians.  When trials come and disappointments discourage us, we need refreshing Christians.  When people quit, loyalty lags, and spirit of melancholy pervades, refreshing Christians are needed to lift the spirit.  Soothe the soul.  Renew hope.

When problems pervade the church or trouble invades the home, refreshing Christians are needed.  When sickness strikes or death intrudes, refreshing Christians are a welcome respite from sorrow. In a darkened world filled with immorality, ungodliness, and corruption, the sight of a devoted, serving, encouraging Christian is indeed refreshing!  Invigorating! Rejuvenating!

You can be a refreshing Christian!   Oh, not by waiting for some grand opportunity that makes a big splash, but by daily doing what needs to be done.  By the little things.  Simple things.  Common things.  Jesus commended those that would give a “cup of water” in his name (Mk. 9:41).  Just like an ice-cold glass of water on a hot and sweltering day can provide refreshment to a parched throat, so can your refreshing deeds of ministry.

 How can you be a refreshing Christian?  Be ready to offer a kind word.  Write a note of encouragement.  Or a phone-call of concern. It may be a meal.  A timely visit.  Or a warm embrace.  In our day it could be  a short text or facebook message.  A poem shared.  A book given.  A pat on the back.  A wink or a nod of recognition.

Your good example, faithfulness under temptation, or calmness under trial may serve as encouragement to another person. Your strength, courage and fortitude may be the refreshing and inspiring.  as they face similar circumstances.   Or it could be your enthusiasm and excitement when others are discouraged, that lifts the fog of depression.

While they didn’t make Hebrews 11, these three unheard of men made a difference in their church-family in Corinth.  And in Paul’s ministry.  They were refreshing Christians.  What about you?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

Filed under Encouragement

4 responses to “Refreshing Christians

  1. David

    What a refreshing post. thanks Ken

  2. Sandra of Pine Bluff, AR, Church of Christ

    Every one of the blogs this week is worth keeping to continually reflect upon! I was reflecting on yesterday’s post at 3:30 this morning…even commented late on it. One can read and reread your blogs any time. I am definitely keeping this week’s series. You definitely have a gift in wording what we need to hear. May God continually bless you in your work!

  3. Pingback: Around the Web (6/7) | InGodsImage.com

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