1 Corinthians 16:15
I beseech you, brothers, (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia…
I. A VERY NEEDFUL WORK. Many of God's children are poor children. The saints who presently shall inherit all things, at present often lack the necessaries of life. Not a few of God's choicest servants are afflicted, and need sympathy and aid. Persecution for the faith should be counteracted as far as possible by careful ministration. In early days imprisoned saints were specially cared for by those at liberty. "Remember those who are in bonds." In modern forms of persecution aid is equally needful. Many need to be "taken by the hand." "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).
II. A VERY HONOURABLE AND BEAUTIFUL WORK. Angel like: they are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). Christ like: "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Matthew 20:28). At last the Lord will say, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). Many do not rightly estimate this "high calling." True love for the brethren (a sign of our salvation, 1 John 3:14) will make us diligent in this service.
III. A WORK WHICH CAN BE EXERCISED IN MANY WAYS. Thus suited to the abilities and opportunities of a large number. Many are idle in our Churches because they can find nothing to do. Let them look in this direction. Visiting the sick, condoling with the bereaved, relieving the destitute, cheering the depressed, securing rest for the overworked, guiding the perplexed, encouraging despondent workers (ministers, sabbath school teachers, etc.), - how many might find a suitable sphere in such holy ministries as these!
IV. A WORK WHICH MERITS RECOGNITION ON THE PART OF THE CHURCH. Those who engage actively in such service as this should be:
1. Highly esteemed. It is no slight service which they render. They do much to elevate the tone of the Church; much to preserve it in peace and content; much to stimulate its zeal.
2. Encouraged. The work is trying. Those who seek to encourage others often need very much encouragement themselves.
3. Aided. This is probably what the apostle means by "Submit yourselves unto such." "As they serve you, do you serve them." Above all, no obstacles should be put in their way.
V. A WORK VERY BENEFICIAL TO THOSE WHO ENGAGE IN IT. "They who water others shall themselves be watered." Here when we give we take. We grow rich by bestowing. Christians stagnate because they think of themselves. Saints take so much care of themselves that they become spiritual invalids. We may "sit under" our own ministry with great profit. A sure way of getting to heaven is resolving that some one else shall get there. Labours for others make us blind to our own troubles. If our ears are filled with the cries of the needy, we shall not be able to hear the croakings of sceptics or the evil prognostications of Satan. True ministering to the saints is truest ministry to ourselves. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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,)