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Summary: What do we know about Onesiphorus? You’ve probably never heard of him before. He isn’t famous. His life is barely a mention on the page of a letter from Paul to Timothy. Here was a man who was simply a humble servant.

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A Servant’s Heart

I heard a story about puny and weak man. He was always sick but he couldn’t afford to see a doctor. He lived in the deep back woods in an old log cabin, his condition seemed to grow worse every day.

One night, in a very real vision, God told him to go out there and push a massively huge rock that was in front of his cabin. So with great enthusiasm the man got up early the next morning, and he pushed on the rock until lunch. He rested a while and pushed the rock until supper time. The man loved pushing against the rock, it gave him meaning – his dream was so real that he knew he was doing something great for God. Day after day he pushed. The days rolled into week, and the weeks became months as he faithfully pushed against the rock.

After 8 months of pushing the rock, this little man was getting tired of pushing the rock and in his tiredness he started to doubt his dream. So one day he measured from his porch to the rock, and every day after pushing the rock, he would measure again. After two weeks of pushing and measuring, he realized he had not moved the boulder even a fraction of an inch. He was so disappointed that he sat on his porch and cried and cried.

It was then that Jesus came and sat down next to the man told him to step in front of the mirror and look at himself. As an act of obedience the man stepped in front of a mirror and looked at himself. He was amazed at what he saw. He had been small and weak and now he was a strong muscular man. Then the man realized, that the plan of God was not for the rock, but for the man.

A Humble Heart

16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 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.

2 Timothy 1:16-18

What do we know about Onesiphorus? You’ve probably never heard of him before. He isn’t famous. His life is barely a mention on the page of a letter from Paul to Timothy. Here was a man who was simply a humble servant. Still in spite of the fact we know so little about this man we can learn observe that there are characteristics displayed in Onesiphorus life – characteristics that are displayed in the life of every humble servant.

“because he often refreshed me…”

It’s not about you – it’s about you making a difference in the life of another

Serving is not about what you receive – it’s about refreshing others. Too often we are all about what we get out of something we are doing.

The next time you are involved in serving don’t spend your time thinking about how tired you are or how hard it is. Focus on the people who will be refreshed because of your ministry.

Painting in the building… Don’t think about how messy it is. Think about the kids and the staff that are encouraged and refreshed spiritually.

Landscaping… Don’t worry about the broken nails, the dirt and the sweat… think about the people who come here and are refreshed by what they see. Think about how they see that this is a beautiful place to worship, minister, and be refreshed spiritually.


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Richard Laraviere

commented on Sep 2, 2009

I found this sermon challenging yet refreshingly simple. A job well done. Thanks

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