At a time when the Apostle Paul was in chains for the sake of the gospel, he wrote a letter to Philemon saying, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” Philemon 1:6,7
Refresh means to give strength or energy to, to invigorate. Have you ever been around someone who refreshes your heart—someone who brings a breath of fresh air or a ray of light everywhere they go? It is, well, REFRESHING, isn’t it.
Right now, with everything that is going on in our world, some of our “refreshers” have even needed someone to energize them. It is a difficult time for all of us. Some have felt depressed, without purpose. Others have found it hard to see beyond the political smog and spiritual warfare. They have lost the spring in their step and have forgotten to smile behind their masks.
Maybe you haven’t been able to be in your small Bible study group since Covid. Maybe your ministry is now limited due to travel restrictions. Perhaps the cultural unrest has affected your influence in your family, or a young family member has struggled with depression.
The list could go on and on for all of us, but the bottom line is—we need purpose and our hearts need to be refreshed. It is essential for us to press into God and to look to Him for our stability and strength in such a time as this. And, it is a perfect time for us to find new purpose in refreshing the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
You may ask how you can do this, especially if you are feeling discouraged yourself. Focusing on the well-being of others always takes our minds off of our own problems. Refreshing others also becomes a way of refreshing yourself.
There are people around you right now who need someone to show them a little attention—a phone call, a note, an invitation to lunch. There are people at the grocery store who need someone to make eye contact with them and simply smile or ask them how they are doing.
My husband has a great way of sharing His faith and encouraging others—strangers, repairmen, or anyone he comes in contact with. He simply looks them in the eye and says, “Hey, I want you to know God loves you”. Responses vary, but many thank him for reminding them of that truth.
Regardless of how you choose to uplift others, may we be able to say to each other, as Paul said to Philemon in verse seven, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints”.