Friday, 8 May 2015
I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. 1 Corinthians 16:17
These three who came to Paul at Ephesus were probably the ones chosen to carry the letter referenced in 1 Corinthians 7:1. They traveled together until they reached Paul and probably had a good discussion as they reviewed the words of the letter. They also must have included discussions concerning the “divisions” of the church mentioned so often by Paul. At the same time, the fellowship with Paul, and their ability to accept his counsel, would have encouraged him.
He knew he had to travel to Corinth and he knew that problems existed there. This probably caused him to anguish, as a father would over a child that had such problems. With their arrival and their working together over these issues, he was given a sense of comfort. The words “for what was lacking on your part they supplied” seem to show a rebuke and are probably better rendered as the ESV states – “because they have made up for your absence.”
In other words, Paul felt the absence and the miles between them which kept him from providing the sound counsel they needed. With the coming of these three, the miles melted away and with them went the frustrations that he had felt. Rather than a rebuke, this is a grateful and filling comment made by Paul to his beloved church.
Life application: Sometimes only the presence of another can cut through one’s loneliness and frustration. If you perceive someone is having difficult times and you can personally visit them then this is often the preferred option. Surely nothing can replace human contact and a smile from a friend.
Lord, some people just seem to know when to reach out to others and fill the voids that they are facing. Nothing can replace a friendly voice and a welcome smile. I know this, and so I would ask that You would fill me with this type of wisdom. Help me to know when to step in and offer that special touch to those in need. I know that they will benefit from it and that I will always learn from it as well. Amen.