Summary: We want a refreshing person. No special education required. They need to sense the hidden needs, must love without expectations and must encourage. Flatterers are not wanted.
“A Minister Of Refreshment”
We would like to create a new staff position. We want a refreshing person. No special education required. They need to sense the hidden needs, must love without expectations and must encourage. Flatterers are not wanted. Do you know of anyone who would meet these qualifications? A friend who genuinely cares; whose words are uplifting, and never judgmental. If you have a person like this in your life, you are very fortunate. So many of us go through life like we would wander through a desert. We are searching for someone to quench the thirst of our souls with a cool refreshing dose of encouragement. It has been said, “We live by encouragement and die without it; slowly, sadly and angrily.” How tragic a life that never feels the refreshment of encouragement. Our world needs Christians who are really to be involved in the lives of people. We need those who are really in be actively involved in the spiritual ministry of refreshment. Perhaps you can envision yourself in this position. What kind of character qualities does this position require? If asked Paul for a job description, it would likely describe his friend Onesiphorus. This is a person that may be virtually unknown to us, but to Paul he provided the much-needed refreshment during his time in the vast desert of loneliness. Today I would like us to see what we can learn from Paul’s description of Onesiphorus in 2 Timothy 1.
I. Getting a handle on some of the background information.
A. Where is Paul?
1. Paul is in prison.
2. Perhaps the place after his house arrest was over.
3. Tradition says that Paul spent the final days of his life here.
B. Paul probably is feeling a bit nostalgic as his life is beginning to wind down.
1. As Paul shivers in the cold dungeon he reflects on the faces of those people he holds dear.
2. Paul’s been alone before, but as you read his writing here you can see almost a feeling of abandonment.
3. Paul probably reflects on those who have done him wrong.
4. People who Paul had made a great investment into their lives who have brought him nothing but heartache.
5. Paul is really feeling a sense of emptiness, but then he remembers Onesiphorus.
II. Onesiphorus was a man who lived up to the meaning of his name in Paul’s mind; “one who brings help.”
A. Just thinking of Onesiphorus refreshes Paul’s heart.
1. Onesiphorus’ very presence refreshed Paul.
2. Ministers of refreshment keep coming back, they do not wait for notes or calls for help.
3. Paul said, “He often refreshed me.”
4. He faithfully administered the medicine of refreshment and encouragement.
B. Visiting the famous apostle was no small task for Onesiphorus,
1. Paul was considered to be a notorious troublemaker in the eyes of the state; there were possible consequences for associating with him.
2. Onesiphorus bravely made the long journey from Ephesus to Rome.
3. Onesiphorus probably searched the city of Rome searching for his mentor and friend.
4. While so many of Paul’s friends are in hiding, Onesiphorus bravely seeks Paul.
C. Do we have a level of commitment to our friends that equals that of Onesiphorus?
1. Do we have the necessary character qualities to become a minister of refreshment?
2. Are we prepared to stand behind someone who is unpopular facing what the tide of disfavor may deliver?
3. Are we prepared to enter the prisons of life?
D. Are we afraid another person’s prison?
1. The prison of failure and humiliation.
2. The prison of rejection.
3. The prison of misunderstanding.
4. The prison of illness.
5. So many of these people are losing life’s battles and no one is there to stand behind them.
6. They need an Onesiphorus to refresh them with encouragement and hope.
7. Even though no one may notice our labors, the Lord does.
III. Learning to become a minister of refreshment.
A. Becoming an Onesiphorus.
1. It does not require a degree from a prestigious university.
2. Does not always require years of on the job experience.
3. However it does require some specific character qualities.
B. Essential qualities needed to become a minister of refreshment.
1. Unselfishness: placing the other person’s needs before your own.
2. Availability: being willing to give your time.
3. Sensitivity: hearing what a person feels and intuitively knowing when you’re needed.
4. Determination: resolving to help despite the obstacles.
5. Positive attitude: seeing beyond the present circumstances, being hopeful.
6. Compassion: showing tolerance, mercy, and understanding.
C. To those dying of thirst in life’s desert, you can be a refreshing cup of encouragement, like Onesiphorus.
1. Are you willing to make the investment?
2. Are willing to take the risk to make a difference in someone’s life.