Wednesday, July 31, 2019


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.  1 Timothy 1:16-18
During the last days of the Apostle Paul's life, he was bound in chains in a Roman cell, awaiting his appeal to Caesar and ultimately his execution.  We know that in spite of these circumstances, Paul's faith remained strong. But being human like you and I, Paul was not immune to natural emotions that we all have in times of struggles and hardships. 
Paul had known prison life before now, but during his first arrest he was in what was known as a "house arrest." And with this he was allowed certain privileges such as friends to accompany him.  Now he was in a Roman cell, better described as a "Well Dungeon." Tradition speaks of these as damp, cold pits not fit for humans nor beast. During these dark days of loneliness, discomfort, disappointment and uncertainty the Lord provided for Paul a measure of refreshment through a man whose name is obscure to us. ONESIPHORUS is his name. Onesiphorus means "Profit-bringer", and his valuable ministry brought to Paul a means of refreshment he would value eternally.
REFRESHMENT: to brace up, to revive by fresh air. Think of a hot stuffy room in which those in the room are oppressed by the heat. Seeking relief, someone opens a window and allows a cool fresh breeze to flow into the sweltering room. The fresh air gives a new surge of strength and energy to everyone in its path. 
Onesiphorus had a "Ministry of Refreshment." Paul describes him as one who often refreshed him. As a Minister of Refreshment, Onesiphorus, sought to bring relief from pressures, weariness, loneliness and discouragement. 
What made Onesiphorus an effective Minister of Refreshment
Genuine Concern– He had a genuine concern for his brother in Christ. Paul speaks of his refreshing services as being on several occasions. Even before now, Paul mentions that he had come to Ephesus and ministered there in many ways.  
It is good intentions and common for people to say to someone in need – “Call me if you need anything!”  But usually the person in need does not call, and often we get busy and do not check back and the opportunity to minister is missed.  Onesiphorus was genuine in his concern and acted upon it.  
Risk of Being Ridiculed- Onesiphorus was willing to set aside his own concerns and risk his good name by helping Paul and others. Paul declared that “Onesiphorus was not ashamed of my chains.”  Apparently, others had abandoned Paul who were more concerned with their own welfare and reputation, than Paul's needs. Being a servant of the Lord means being willing to step outside the comfort zone of padded pews, and help someone in need, no matter of color, ethnic, financial status.
Onesiphorus was committed and persistent at being a minister of refreshment. He had to look for Paul and find him to minister to him. He sought him through a great obstacle in the maze of prison cells and he could have given up easily.  In spite of the difficulty, he persevered, found Paul, and ministered to him.  
Onesiphorus came to Paul in his need and ministered to him. Who can you minister to today? Are there those in your life that are lonely, hopeless, afraid, lost, or discouraged?  God can use you to minister to those just as he used Onesiphorus to minister to Paul.  Are you willing to bring refreshment to someone who needs it today? 

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