I Corinthians 16:15 …they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints…
Addiction is an interesting thing. We see many people who are addicted to things that bring great harm to themselves. When we hear the word addiction, we usually think of drugs, alcohol, gambling, video games, social media, and the list goes on. It seems for every addiction in the world, there are four classes trying to lead someone out of the poor choices that lead them to their addiction in the first place.
The word addiction literally means to devote yourself fully; to apply one’s self habitually; to devote time and attention by constant practice. With that definition, I can with all honesty and conviction say, I am addicted to coffee, pray for me! You can probably think of something you have been addicted to as well. We usually use the word addicted in a negative connotation, but today we find it used in a positive way.
The word addicted is only found once in the Bible. However, the thought of being addicted to something is used in other passages. In Ephesians we are told not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit. Paul used the negative attributes of wine and its impact as an illustration to teach us how the Spirit of God should be in control of us. Just like a drunkard fully gives themselves to alcohol and loses control, we are to yield to God’s Spirit in the same fashion. God should fill us, control us, and should be our main desire, our beginning, and end. The word addicted brings along with it many connotations. Let’s quickly work through a couple of these:
Have you ever met a drug addict who wasn’t dedicated to getting their drugs? They search high and low to find their next fix, even stooping as low as taking from their friends and family to feed their addiction. You never have to worry about them showing up on time if it involves their addiction. One must be fully dedicated to be considered addicted.
I can think of many tragic stories of people who lost everything for their addiction. Some lose relationships with their loved ones because of addictions. Some lose the trust of their spouse because of their addiction to the things they watch. Some lose their life savings, because they can’t control their addiction to gambling. Children will sacrifice their grades just to get to the next level of their favorite video game. There is no such thing as an addicted person who is not willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to feed their addiction.
Unless you have built a steady habit, you don’t qualify as addicted. Go ask the drunks how often they drink. Inquire from the druggies how often they need a fix. You see, consistency is built into the definition of addiction. Addictions are constantly managed.
For most of us, it’s hard to understand how others can let their poor choices impact their life so heavily. How could someone want something so bad that they would throw away their home, job, family, and any semblance of a balanced life? The reason is desire. When you are addicted to something, you have an overwhelming desire that won’t let anything get in its way.
Looking through the negative lens, it’s very clear how addiction can wreak havoc in one’s life. Nonetheless, we must not forget the context of our opening text. Paul was reminding the church that there were some members who were addicted to the ministry of serving others! That means they were dedicated, sacrificial, consistent, and had a strong desire to serve the Lord.
This begs the question. Could anyone observing our lives say that we are addicted to the ministry of the Lord? Could they say we were dedicated to the point where nothing stood in the way of cleaning the church property? If someone watched us for a weekend, could they say we were sacrificial with our time when it came to the bus ministry?
How about when it came to being consistent with our usher or nursey duty? Are we on time and prepared to serve in our spot because we are addicted? And when it comes to desire, do we show up to all the services to learn about our Savior? Do we show up on time to sing unto Him? Do we seek out opportunities to help others in the church? It’s very clear when someone is addicted to the wrong things. May it be just as clear that we are addicted to the right things.
The success of the men of faith, their efforts, and their courage, came because they had something in common, they were people who lived in the Word of God.
Life does not consist of that which we possess. Joy doesn’t come from getting what we want.