“The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.”II Timothy 1:16-18
I remember the early years of summer camp at West Branch. I was a freshman in high school and camp was the highlight of my summer. I remember they would do skits before the preaching began, and the skits would highlight upcoming events. I remember a skit in which they were promoting the Iron Man Race, and they joked about people at the brink of sheer exhaustion and possible death. We laughed at that skit, and I thought there was no way I would participate in that race. The race entailed several events and then concluded with a 5 mile run through the mountains. I thought to wait at the finish line and look at the saps as they sprinted to the finish line.
After the service I went to my friend Jaime and joked about the fools who would think to run that race. Jaime looked at me and told me he was going to run it. I told him he was crazy but he was determined to do it. I told him I would wait for him at the finish line and be prepared to say nice things at his funeral. Race day came and they were about seven or eight people who answered the challenge. We cheered Jaime as he left, and waited anxiously for his return. An hour passed and nobody had appeared out of the woods. We waited and waited and finally saw someone coming from the woods. The person was not Jaime but another participant who looked exhausted.
The sun was starting to go down and Jaime emerged out of the dense woods. He had the look of death in his eyes and was struggling to make it to the finish line. He made it to the finish line and collapsed on the ground. Me and a friend of mine ran over to him and picked him up and he was limp in our arms. We carried him to the nurse’s office and placed him on a bed. He could barely talk but was muttering groans of pain. The nurse gave him water and some medicine and he started to slowly feel better. He began to speak and told us of his crazy iron man journey. We helped him get back to the cabin and brought him his dinner. He slowly recovered and was feeling better after a good night’s rest. I believe that was a time in life when Jaime and I grew closer. I was able to be there for him in a moment of need and our friendship was forged forever.
I think of Onesiphorus who was a true friend to the Apostle Paul and was used of God to be a blessing to Him. He was not ashamed of Paul’s prisoner status, and he went out of his way to be a blessing to him. He did not say, “call me if you need anything”, but he was proactive in seeking him out. He ministered to Paul and brought encouragement and often refreshed Paul. He was a blessing which aided Paul in the ministry, and he helped him in his time of need. Paul asked God to bless Onesiphorus as he was used of God to encourage and strengthen Paul.
Who do you know that is struggling today? Who can you be a blessing to? Who can you refresh and encourage? Do you ask God to lead you to those who are in need? Are you too busy thinking of your own needs that you look past the needs of others? God is looking to use you to be a blessing to others, so will you be one who will answer the call? Philippians 2:4 states, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” May we not look at relationships for our benefit, but may we look to be a blessing to someone else. The more you give to others, the more fulfillment you will find. There is great joy in being used of God to be a blessing to others. Praise God for the Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and may we reciprocate that in the lives of others.