I love refreshments. Each country and community puts its own touch on break time. Tea, coffee, cold drinks, snacks of all descriptions, complicated and simple provide enjoyment after a block of time of hard work.
Some people are refreshing. I’ve heard some described as ‘a breath of fresh air.’ Others–not so much! One sets a mental timer wondering ‘how soon they will leave….’ or should I be that honest?
In 2 Timothy 1:16-18, Paul, though writing to Timothy, cites Onesiphorus as a man who brought refreshments, not necessarily measured in terms of food and drink, but nourishing interaction that left Paul edified and encourage to press on in the journey God had called him to take.
“May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.”
Onesiphorus had often been a beacon of hope to Paul in his challenging circumstances which may well have tempted him to despair. In Ephesus and later in Rome this Christ follower had kept searching until he found the aged Apostle, perhaps bringing news of faraway saints, joining Paul in a time of adoration, confession, supplication or thanksgiving, or maybe just serving as a great listener.
Some simple observations
1. God has His own way of rewarding those who bless others. He rewards both in this life and at a future ‘day’ when all of our works will be evaluated.
2. Involvement with people may be habit forming.
3. Some Christian leaders face suffering (e.g. chains) and need wise friends to show up.
4. Encouraging others may involve significant self-denial and effort. Encouragers may have to step out of the comfort zone.
The passage is quite self-explanatory. The question for us is one of obedience. Will I be remembered as one who brought refreshments, using the means God blessed me with to bring blessing to the lives of others? How about you?