How do you show appreciation to someone, and how often should you show it without “spoiling” that person? In 1 Corinthians 16:18, Paul had just described the contributions of several workers in the church at Corinth.
Stephanus was an early convert who had matured into a ministry leader. His whole household was credited in the commendation: “They devoted themselves to the ministry [service] of the saints. I urge you also to submit to people like this, and to everyone who cooperates in the work and labors hard” (1 Cor 16:14–-16).
The next group of workers came to Paul from Corinth: “Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaicus” (1 Cor 16:17) were a great asset to Paul: they “refreshed [his] spirit” (Gk. “cause to rest”) as they had already done to the church at Corinth. What a delight to be around folks who, by their unselfish attitudes and sincere interest in your needs over their own, lift your spirit to rejoicing.
This is a command for the members of the church to “submit to people like this” (1 Cor 16:16). Their commitment to serve the church members and others without seeking personal benefit proves they are trustworthy.
The command to “recognize” (Gk. “cause to be known”) is a double–edged sword. We are commanded to motivate all workers and leaders in the ministry, not just by honor, but by constant reaffirmation of their refreshing spirit and specific benefits. It is not always healthy to make the recognition monetary, because greed is subtle and self–deceiving.
We cannot forget the warning that if we attempt to do ministry “to be seen by [men]” (Matt 6:1), or to “have glory from men” (6:2), then there is no reward for us in heaven! Frequent, private, individual recognition is always good.
In ministering to one another, we can always encourage one another, praise one another, esteem one another, care for one another, serve one another, and submit to one another in the spirit of love and peace. Letting people know how effective their ministry has been to your spiritual life and maturity is always good. Who have you recognized and appreciated recently as being a challenge and a blessing to your walk with Christ?
“Lord, I am so self–centered that I find it difficult to want others to be more recognized and honored than I am. Give me ideas to encourage my leaders and build their reputations.”