1 Corinthians 16: 17-18
17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.
Anyone who has competed in endurance races like 10k’s, marathons, triathlons and the like, probably understand the intense feeling of thirst. A short distance can seem like an eternity when you are becoming de-hydrated, and in contrast the vision of a refreshment station and volunteers holding water is nothing short of a vision of beauty. When you finally consume that water, it tastes like never before, it is refreshment to the body and the mind.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of another type of refreshment, that being the spiritual refreshment that comes from others. The three men mentioned in verse 17 brought the questions of the Corinthian Christians to Paul. Stephanas was apparently the head of the household and Fortunatus and Achaicus were apparently household servants. Details are not known, but what they supplied to Paul refreshed his spirit.
I’m sure you can picture people in your life who drain you when you are together, but you can probably also picture people like Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus who are refreshers. They are people who deposit something in you and refresh your spirit. It is important for us all to understand the impact, either negative or positive, that we can have on others. While Paul recognized that his joy and his fulfilment always came from God (Colossians 2:2-3), he also frequently spoke of the refreshment that came from others like Apollos, and Timothy and many more.
Are you someone who refreshes others? There is an impactful proverb that says “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed”. (Proverbs 11:25). Are you a generous person, someone who sacrifices your own best interests for the care of others? This proverb is another one of the dichotomies of the Bible. One would think that if you pour yourself out for others, you won’t be left with anything, but God’s math works very differently. God ensures that those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. God demonstrates this over and over in the lives of his saints. This does not always mean material reward, but it does consistently mean a spiritual refilling, a spiritual refreshment from the true source of replenishment. Whoever drinks of the water that Jesus gives him, will never again be thirsty (John 4:14).
If you have refreshers in your life, thank God for them, and then pray that God would fill you with his everlasting water so that you too can be a refresher to those around you.