Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 16:18 “For they refreshed my spirit and yours; therefore acknowledge such men.”
There is a difference between being driven and being committed. Commitment springs from conviction, whereas “drivenness” is the product of some sort of neurotic compulsion. One can never be driven and sleep well at night — because drivenness betrays an inner discontent. Commitment, on the other hand, can be fully embraced even while “peace that passes understand” floods the soul — your work is the outflowing of a deep well within.
But even the content person gets tired once in a while. It could simply be volume of work, distractions of some sort or occasional over-extension. Whatever the reason, sometimes we need to be refreshed.
That’s why I like what Paul says about Stephanus, Fortnunatus, and Achaicus — they “refreshed my spirit”. What they did, Paul doesn’t say. Maybe they just sat around and talk with him, not about doctrine, but about smaller things. Maybe they had a great sense of humour and made Paul laugh. Maybe they prayed with him or put on a hearty barbecue and encouraged Paul to eat his fill. Who knows? The point is, they came like a fresh breeze into Paul’s life. They took some of the burden from his shoulders and gave him the opportunity to relax, to “let his hair down”.
“Such men deserve recognition”, declares Paul — and rightly so. Too often in the Lord’s work we make much of spiritual leaders and, in so doing, lay a heavy burden on their shoulders. They’re only human, too, and feel almost obliged to fulfil our expectation of them. They need a few people friends — with whom they can just be who they are, without any ministry agenda. Let’s applaud friends like these! They have a key role in the health of the church. They’re content and refreshing.