In 2 Timothy 1:16-18 Paul praises the family of Onesiphorus for the blessing they, and especially Onesiphorus, had been to him. Have you noticed that in the busyness of our generation we seem to have less and less time to do anything? We especially seem to have less time to be a blessing to others. As believers, shouldn’t we be experts at living for and serving others? How do we do it? Paul’s praise of Onesiphorus can certainly help us to answer that question.
We can be a blessing to others by refreshing them. He “oft refreshed me,” Paul wrote to Timothy. The word means to “cool off, relieve, or revive with fresh air.” It wasn’t just a passing thing either. It was something that had happened often! Paul was refreshed by the investment of this friend. He was revived. Apparently Onesiphorus was pretty good at giving of himself and his time and at knowing the needs of Paul and meeting them. When was the last time you invested in others? When was the last time someone was refreshed because of your “on purpose” investment in them? It may be that you could meet a need. Perhaps you could write a letter of encouragement. Perhaps you could just sit and talk. It may be that you could take someone to lunch or have someone in your home. The opportunities are limitless.
We can also be a blessing to others by spending time with them. In verse 17 Paul says that his friend “sought [him] out very diligently and found [him].” It always takes time to be a blessing to others. It takes time to practice “pure religion and undefiled” by visiting “the fatherless and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27). It takes time to speak with others and to edify them and “minister grace unto” them (Ephesians 4:29). It takes time for “iron to sharpen iron” and for me to speak health (cf. Proverbs 27:17; 12:18) to a brother or sister. No one can be a blessing to others without an investment of time.
The final lesson that Paul teaches us here is that we can be a blessing to others by ministering to them. In verse 18, Paul speaks of “how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus.” The word ministered means “to wait upon them, to serve them, to attend to them.” Remember Jesus washing His disciples feet? Visiting with Mary and Martha in their home? Speaking patiently and kindly to a woman by a well? Feeding 5,000 because there was no place to get food? In our fast-paced society, we all likely need help with this one. I know that I do.
The weekend is just around the corner. What will you do to refresh someone? With whom will you spend time? What could you do to minister to someone? All around us are people who are lonely, hurting, and searching. May God help us to become experts at being a blessing to others. I suspect that as we do, we will also find that it is a blessing to us as well.