Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
Philemon 7, 20-21
We all know how a cool shower refreshes after we spend the day in the sun. Or how a cup of tea refreshes before spending the evening babysitting the neighbor’s kids. Recently I saw a comment on social media that said, “It was wonderful! Just what my heart and soul needed today!” A video clip refreshed someone. Likewise, Paul, in verse 7, shares that Philemon “has given me great joy and encouragement.” Paul’s heart was refreshed by what Philemon had done for people in his church.
Perhaps listening to classical music, singing praise songs, playing the Beatles on the piano or meeting with a friend refreshes you. Others may read a favorite author or poetry or the Psalms. Refreshment for ourselves renews our energy to face the task at hand.
Refreshing the heart of others in Christ seems another matter—more intentional. We need hearts that are refreshed in the church so that we will be ready to use our spiritual gifts.
Scholars tell us that Philemon was a wealthy landholder and slave owner from Colosse in Phrygia. He was the spiritual leader of a church that met in his home. He had the money to feed, clothe and shelter church members who were in need, and to support church ministry projects. He was an overseer with spiritual authority and influence. Paul describes that Philemon had done something that “refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”
What is it that we can do to refresh the hearts of fellow believers? What needs do you see around you at church, and how do you meet them? Do you know others in church well enough to send an encouraging text message, a call, or a visit? Or perhaps you may refresh someone’s heart simply with a friendly conversation, maybe inviting them to a cup of coffee. Get to know them to refresh their hearts.
Being in a small group affords us the opportunity to know when others close to us might be feeling down, discouraged or hungry and in need of refreshment in Christ. Hearts need refreshing. If you haven’t joined a group yet, click here to learn more.