“Would you do me a favour, friends, and give special recognition to the family of Stephanas? You know, they were among the first converts in Greece, and they’ve put themselves out, serving Christians ever since then”.
1 Cor 16:15 EHP
There was a saying in the early church that went, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”. There might also have been another one that would have said, “The faithfulness of the stalwarts is the foundation of the churches”. Here, in the closing sentences of his letter, Paul mentions Stephanas and his family. They were the stalwarts in Corinth. There were others elsewhere.
The Christian community depends on the stalwarts. They are steadfast. They work behind the scenes and seem never to grow tired. They “go labour on, spend and be spent, their joy to do the Master’s will”. When there is a need to get things moving, they “work their socks off”. They do not jib when they are asked to go the extra mile. And usually all the family work as a team, supporting one another and encouraging one another. They are not put out if someone else gets the limelight. When things go well, they give praise and glory to God. Where there is trouble they go and quietly put the fires out. When someone goes through deep waters, they act as unofficial pastors and pray the troubled people through. If they are thanked for their hard work they accept the thanks graciously. If they don’t get thanked publicly they don’t com- plain. They never think about what they will get out of any situation, as long as the work of God prospers. Thank God for them. And be one.
Lord, raise up more stalwarts to bring honour to your name.