Inspired by Philemon
Particularly after busy work days, or taxing seasons, I find myself in need of refreshment. A common definition for refreshment is: the giving of fresh mental or physical strength or energy. Some synonyms are invigoration, rejuvenation, and renewal.
Paul’s letter to the ministry leader Philemon gives me so many thoughts to ponder and lessons to learn and apply. In just 25 verses, Paul effectively shows us what Christ-like character we should all employ as God’s people. And, he shows me how to be refreshed so that I can refresh others.
“and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” – Philemon 6-7
In return for being refreshed by Christ and Philemon, Paul asks God to refresh Philemon. Specifically, that God would refresh Philemon by making his knowledge of all the good things he has in Christ, full. Paul is asking God to give Philemon more of Christ. What a prayer! It is a powerful prayer for Philemon who will be asked to show partnership not just with his friend Paul, but with his runaway slave who betrayed him.
Christ refreshes you so that you can refresh others and so that others, when refreshed, will want more of Christ. Only Christ can bring this level of fullness to your relationships, especially hard, fractured, and strenuous relationships.
You will only refresh others with the capacity which you’ve been refreshed by Christ yourself.
In verse 7 Paul praises Philemon for being an encouragement by “refreshing” the hearts of the saints. Philemon had used his resources to provide relief for other believers, perhaps by opening his home to them as they traveled from one city to another. Some interpret verse 7 as referring to the faith Philemon had in common with the rest of the believers. In this sense Paul’s prayer would be that Philemon would grow in his understanding of the mutual treasure of faith that was his along with other Christ followers.
How can you share your faith today? It may be with words – telling someone else about the good news of Jesus in your life. Or, perhaps you’ll offer some respite to someone in need during busy days, or even monetary support to meet a need. Don’t be discouraged if you feel as if you’re just an “average” Christian with little to offer – you have Christ!
Most of those who have had extraordinary ministries have been ordinary people who allowed our extraordinary God to use them.
All who are active in sharing their faith learn more about the faith that they share.
That’s my prayer for you and for me, today. I find it refreshing!