The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: ~2 Timothy 1:16
Paul was at the lowest point of his ministry. He was imprisoned in the infamous Mamertine prison, awaiting execution. Everyone in Asia turned away from him. He was despised, misjudged, and abandoned. He was considered Public Enemy #1 by the Romans and Jews. Other Christians were afraid to be found associated with him. It was at his lowest point that Paul refers to a friend who encouraged him. This friend was Onesiphorus. Paul said, “For he oft refreshed me….” Another way of describing his friend is that he was a breath of fresh air to Paul.
We see a friend who was impassionate.
Paul acknowledged this friend who loved him in spite of the risks. Paul said that Onesiphorus was not ashamed of his chain. He did not have second thoughts about Paul. He did not throw Paul under the bus when innuendos were being said. He held steadfast to the fact that Paul was innocent of the false accusations. Paul sadly recounted how all men forsook him, but not Onesiphorus. No one dared to visit Paul in prison, but not Onesiphorus. Onesiphorus was a friend that loved at all times.
We see a friend who was intense.
“But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.” Onesiphorus was determined that no matter how difficult it would be, he would search for Paul in Rome until he found him. I wonder how many false leads and lies Onesiphorus received during his search for Paul. I wonder how many scoffs and threats he received. Yet, he searched diligently until he found him. How far and how diligently will you search for a Christian who is far away from God? How diligently will you come to the side of a Christian who is in need of your help?
We see a friend who was invigorating.
Paul said that Onesiphorus oft refreshed him. Literally, he was a breath of fresh air. What a great description, considering that Paul was imprisoned in the dark, foul, musty, and odor-filled prison! Onesiphorus encouraged Paul. He gave a positive outlook. He ministered to Paul’s spiritual and physical needs. He did these things repeatedly. A good friend is there for you. A great and godly friend never leaves you. This friend went out of his way. This friend was awake before Paul woke up and went to sleep after Paul fell asleep. He was one step ahead of Paul in everything. He was proactive. Paul also referred to the many things this friend ministered to him with. Onesiphorus just gave and gave and did not expect anything in return. Do the people in your life consider you a breath of fresh air?
We see a friend who was interceded for.
Paul did the one thing his friend needed most. He prayed for him. He prayed twice that his friend would receive mercy from the Lord in that day. Paul expected the persecution to get worse. He anticipated that his friend and his family might suffer during the Roman persecution. So, Paul prayed that the Lord would have mercy on them. This mercy was that they might be spared from persecution and suffering. This mercy was that they might be delivered from the mouth of the lion. It was a prayer that desired God’s best for them. Onesiphorus reaped what he sowed. God honored him in accordance to his loyalty and friendship to Paul. Being a breath of fresh air will involve some risks. Our greatest value to others is when we encourage them. Will you be a breath of fresh air to the circle of people in your life?
Have a refreshing God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Acts 24-26