The word addiction immediately conjures up thoughts of being enslaved to alcohol, drugs or tobacco. We all know people who have become puppets to one or more of these substances.

The effects these drugs have on one's life are devastating. Everyone associated with the addicted person is affected. Again, we all know of the pain suffered, the neglect, and poverty, not to mention the innocent minds that are scarred because of another's addiction. However, I believe the Bible speaks of a good type of addiction.

In the closing of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul said, "I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruits of Achaia, and that they have 'addicted' themselves to the ministry of the saints,)" (1 Corinthians 16:15).

The addiction of this noble Christian family was one of devoting themselves to the care of the saints.

They were taking to heart the teaching of Jesus that says, "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant," (Matthew 23:1).

They did not dispose and devote themselves to the ministry of the word. Instead, they chose to serve the saints in other respects by supplying their needs. They would help and assist them upon all occasions, both in temporal and spiritual concerns. This became their addiction.

Their addiction could have been as simple as opening their house for a place to conduct worship. No doubt they showed much hospitality. We also may be sure that the poor, the sick, and the infirm were duly cared for and helped.

This addiction obviously has the approval of Paul because he urges others, "that they submit themselves unto such, and to everyone that helps with us, and labors," (1 Corinthians 16:16).

This verb 'submit' is used to describe one's subjection to God, (James 4:7). It is used in reference to civil government, (Romans 13:1). This submission is what a wife shows her husband, (Ephesians 5:22) and a servant his master, (Titus 2:9).

We must also note that this word is the word used to instruct all Christians to submit one to another in the fear of God, (Ephesians 5:21).

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord we owe submission to each other, but especially to those who have devoted themselves to the service of other saints.

One, who not only helps but also labors, describes the extremely hard work that produces weariness. Many help but few really labor. To those who toil, we should submit ourselves.

Are you addicted to the brethren?

By Wendell Ward

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