September 24, 2014 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers & Sisters,
When I think of being refreshed I often think of a cool glass of water on a hot day or swimming in the shade in a cool pool of water... a sense of rest, a calming of spirit and body, a peaceful respite in a world of constant action. I also think of deep time in the Word of God where I feel rejuvenated and excited to go back out and serve him more.
After studying Philemon in our Men’s Bible study recently I am struck by Paul's description of another form of refreshment in Philemon 1:4-7.
"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,
because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 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."
Here Paul is writing to his brother Philemon who was a wealthy Christian living in the city of Colossae. Apparently Philemon became a believer during Paul’s three years of ministry in Ephesus and was now active in serving the Lord in Colossae including even allowing the local church to meet in his home.
So here Paul is telling Philemon that he prays regularly in thanks to God for Philemon’s faith and love and for the way he lives out that love for all the saints. This is a very common prayer of Paul’s throughout his epistles. At first this just seems to be a prayer of thanks for Christ’s work in Philemon. But in verse 7, Paul takes this even further. He praises God for Philemon’s loving work in the lives of other believers BECAUSE it refreshed them and himself. Apparently Philemon was well known for his love for his fellow believers and his ministering to other Christians was a great encouragement to them. Paul gets joy, comfort, and indeed refreshment, from seeing Philemon’s love refresh other believers.
Do you realize that you can be refreshed in the faith, not by being served yourself, but by observing others lovingly serve another brother or sister? Are you refreshed by seeing our God work in the lives of believers through the faith and love of other Christians? Say in the selfless delivery of a meal, a timely personal prayer, a loving admonishment, unasked for service rendered or an exhortation to persevere through a struggle? Do your ever share your joy in that refreshment with the brother or sister that is faithfully loving another? Do you thank God for another believer’s love for Christ and their growth in ministry as a result?
We should follow the example of Paul and thank God for the love and faith in Christ that we see in our fellow brothers and sisters. We should also follow the example of Philemon in living out our faith and love in such a way as to refresh others in the gospel.
Isn’t it just like our great God to allow us to be refreshed in him by others loving work in the lives of other believers? I praise God for his providing many examples of believers around me refreshing others in the faith by their love. To all of you I thank you for refreshing me and know that I am giving thanks to God for your Christ-like labors. And don’t be surprised if I thank you in person “because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
Elder, Arlington Baptist Church
Comments for this post have been disabled.