“The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus: for he hath oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.” (2 Tim. 1:16)
In our church, besides our senior Pastor, who ministers ably to us weekly, we also have a Minister of Music and Worship, a Minister of Finances, a Minister of Membership Care and Counseling, as well as ministers for both the youth and children. In the early Church, if they had chosen to employ such titles, I’m sure dear Onesiphorus would have been called the “Minister of Refreshment.” And lest you think too lightly of this post, I would remind you that Paul never mentioned his name without praising his gift. “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother” (Philemon 7).
How did Onesiphorus conduct his duties as “chief refresher?” we may ask. One thing is for sure; whatever it was did not just refresh the body, it renewed the inward man to the very “bowels of the saints."
Looking elsewhere in the Word, we may find some clues. Saul’s soul was refreshed when young David played his harp (1Sam.16:23), and Job felt that getting things off his chest would go a long way toward refreshing his spirit (Job 32:19-20). Beyond this, we know from the verse in 2 Timothy that it was refreshing to Paul to have someone around who was not ashamed of what others might see as a blight on his character—his “chain.” Judgmental folks are seldom greeted with anticipation. It would have been easy to see Paul as suffering for a crime instead of a cause, which tells us things are not always the way they look.
As women, we may not biblically qualify for the office of pastor, but the “ministry of refreshment” is open to all, male or female. We can bring light to a dark place, confidence to a hesitant spirit, the warmth of a smile to a frozen frown, a word of cheer to a mournful moment, and the hope of Heaven to a candidate for hell. I challenge you; step up and apply for the job. The pay may not be great, but the reward is out of this world!