October 10th 2009

Refreshing the hearts

5 of 12 studies taken from Philemon

“…you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints”

Philemon 1:7 NIV UK

What impact do you have on your fellow believers?

Some years ago I was in Limbé in the Cameroun. The nearby volcano, the most active on the continent, had erupted slightly again and walls of steaming hot lava had flowed across some of the streets leading into the town. There was a lot of disruption. I had been travelling extensively across the country and was weary. My African hosts met me with great excitement. I remember we laughed a lot and sang songs, and they made a sumptuous meal and had prepared a special room for me to sleep in. They said they were uplifted by my visit and there is no doubt that they encouraged me in my ministry. They refreshed my heart despite their local difficulties that were far greater than those I encountered at home. I was able to face the rest of the arduous trip with renewed physical and spiritual energy.

We always have an effect on others. It can be positive or negative, rarely neutral. Christianity is about meeting others at their point of need, and, usually, people need a word or gesture of encouragement.

Jesus explained that when we respond to someone’s need it is as if we respond to him. Paul reminded the Galatians, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (6:10).

You don’t need me to tell you that life is often exhausting and fraught with problems. Our brothers and sisters in Christ get weary and need refreshed. Our words and actions and can be like cool water to a thirsty soul. Philemon had a reputation for hospitality and for making others feel good.

What are you doing to refresh the hearts of the saints?

Prayer:

Our Father, help me to refresh the hearts of those around me and to encourage others to go on in the faith.

Amen.

Study by james.henderson@wcg.org

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