Daily Devotional: 1 Corinthians 16:17-18


Now that the days are getting longer, my family and I have been enjoying more time outdoors. We’ve been going to secluded hiking trails here in Spokane. Some of these trails are quite rigorous, especially as I carry my two-year-old daughter on my back. My muscles start tensing in places. My joints begin to ache, and the sweat drips down my cheeks. Then, all I want to do is stop and refresh myself with water and a snack. Such a pause in the hike is necessary in order to finish it well. 

Our spiritual walks with Christ are much like those family hikes of mine. There’s an intense and relentless nature to our day-to-day living that demands for us to be refreshed. Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:17-18 (cf. Romans 15:31-32): “I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.” Did you notice how Paul specifically named three co-laborers in gospel ministry who refreshed him?

No doubt Stephanas and friends refreshed Paul with the word, with prayer, and with stories about what God had been doing in their lives. No doubt they all laughed, cried, and spent times together in silence. As God’s people, we need to hear gracious and truthful words of refreshment. We also need each other’s presence. Of course, living out the latter today presents us with some unique obstacles since we’re still sheltering-in-place. But it’s important for us to remember that our need for refreshment in Christ (Philemon 1:20) doesn’t just evaporate into thin air because of anything mandated or recommended by Olympia or D.C.

Notice in our text today how Paul emphasizes at the end of verse seventeen that his three co-laborers made up for the absence of the Corinthian church. This leads me to ask us this: are we making up for the absence of the church in our lives right now by refreshing one another in Christ? For Paul and his first century co-laborers, gospel ministry could be downright perilous, as the apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 and 2 Corinthians 6:3-7. They needed to refresh one another, and then be refreshed by one another. Likewise, so do we in our days of economic and social shutdown. 

We need to be refreshed by one another in Christ and to refresh others after having been refreshed. So if you’ve been refreshed by a dear saint from Indian Trail Church, then pray for an opportunity to refresh someone else. If you need the refreshing presence of your brother or sister in Christ, then ask the Lord to provide. Friends, let us seek creative ways to refresh one another in Christ (Philemon 1:20).