Paul concluded his first letter to the church in Corinth by mentioning four people (1 Corinthians 16:10-19). I think you can learn some ‘people’ lessons from them.
When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers. (1 Corinthians 16:10-11)
Paul anticipated Timothy’s trip to Corinth and asked the people to respect him – not for his own sake but for the sake of the work that he is doing. Timothy seems to be a timid person and could be intimidated by others. But his position was to be respected, regardless of his personal power. It is not the person who honors the work but the work which honors the person. Respect is important as we consider those God has placed in authority over us. Though a person may not behave in a respectful manner, we are commanded to respect those in authority over us (Romans 13:1).
Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:12-14)
Paul wanted Apollos to make the trip to Corinth. But since he chose not to, Paul made a challenge to the Corinthians in five areas. The first four have a military background: Be alert! Be firm! Be a man! Be strong! The fifth challenge was to do everything in love. That’s the balance. Be strong, but don’t be ungraciousl. Paul said in Ephesians 4:15: “Speak the truth in love.” There is a balance between firmness and gentleness, between power and love.Hold both together.
Stephanos: SERVANT LEADERSHIP
You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it. I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition. (1 Corinthians 16:15-18)
Stephanos’ family was one of the first Christian families in Corinth. They were addicted to helping out other Christians. An addict is someone hopelessly given up to something. Their family was hopelessly given up to helping the saints. That is why Paul encouraged the church to submit to them and all who served. Authentic, solid leadership comes from people who serve others. Typically, we think of leadership as holding an office that is dependent on personality, knowledge, experience or money. However, Christian leadership is earned through humble service. Service, not status, is the important thing in a church’s ministry. Those who do the work are to receive the appropriate recognition and respect.
Aquilla and Priscilla: DEDICATION
The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla[a] greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. (1 Corinthians 16:19)
Aquilla and Priscilla were a couple involved in family business (tentmaking). The Bible mentions their names six times in three key cities: Rome, Ephesus, and Corinth. Wherever they settled, they became the focus for the church in their house. It is not indicated if their relocations were due to their vocation or their ministry. But wherever Aquilla and Priscilla were, their home became a church. People with a dedication and sacrifice to the local church are not easy to find, but they are a great asset to the Lord’s work. Be dedicated to your church. No organization can succeed without the dedication of the people involved.