Do You Strengthen Others?
Philemon 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For we have[a] great joy[b] and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.
Day in and day out we spend time with others in various types of relationships. Whether they are romantic, work, church or family relationships; we spend countless amounts of time with others.
We often give thought to how others treat and impact our lives, but what about the impact you make? Is your time together spent only talking and laughing it up? Are you wasting time observing and talking about others? Are you complaining about how unfair life has been towards you? What are you contributing to the benefit of others when they are in your presence?
In this text we see Paul writing to a dear friend Philemon asking for a favor, not for himself but for someone else, Onesimus. It is amazing to see that even while Paul was yet in jail, he was still giving and pouring out into the lives of others. We see here that Paul did not only gain a son in the faith in Onesimus, but he also cared for him and looked to restore the relationship with Onesimus and Philemon.
It is believed that Onesimus was a runaway slave that once served the house of Philemon. While much isn’t shared about when, how, and what caused the separation the text does tell us that Paul thought enough of them both to desire reconciliation and restoration to their relationship.
Greater than that Paul desired that Philemon and his household treated Onesimus, in the same manner that they would treat Paul.
What made Paul so comfortable and confident in asking this of Philemon? It was Philemon’s proven character to care for others outside of himself. Before Paul makes his request known he praises Philemon for his love for Christ and for how his love and faith has “refreshed the brethren”. Philemons’ love and time with others has caused them to have new strength and new energy.
It is apparent that whatever time Philemon has spent with those around him, they left his presence better off than they came.
Can the same be said about you and I? When others leave our presence are they leaving with new strength and new energy? Or are we causing others to leave depleted, depressed and discouraged. As we continue on this journey called life, let us reexamine what deposits are we leaving in the hearts and minds of others.