2 Timothy 1:16-18 – Dennis Swanberg


As a person who was raised as a Methodist, I got saved at a Methodist revival. When it came time for refreshments in Vacation Bible School, we got Kool-Aid and 2 ‘Nilla wafers. While we were happy with those refreshments, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve determined that the best refreshments are people.

People refresh us. Our friends rejuvenate us, encourage us, strengthen us and make us laugh. When football stadiums closed their bleachers to the fans, the football games weren’t the same. When people were there to encourage, cheer and refresh the players, the game was better.

In 2 Timothy 1:16-18, Paul was in prison and was scheduled to be martyred. However, there was one person who refreshed Paul in what could’ve been the worst time of his life.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Paul used Onesiphorus as an example of a person who refreshes others. When Paul was getting ready to die, Onesiphorus risked his life and went the extra mile to find and help Paul when everyone else had turned away from him. 

What does it mean to be a refresher? 

Refresh means to cool again or to recover from the effects of heat.  A refresher is someone who energizes, revives, encourages and strengthens another. So, when God sends someone in your life who refreshes you, it is important to refresh them. Onesiphorus will go down in history as a friend who stuck closer than a brother. Is there anyone in your life that has refreshed you? How did it make you feel? Today, we challenge you to be someone who refreshes others. 

Here are some ways you can refresh others.

1. Communicate your encouragement to others.

Paul loved to write. I imagine that Onesiphorus refreshed Paul with paper and pen, so he could write the letters that he wrote to the Ephesians, Galatians, Romans, Corinthians, and more. Paul was then able to use those resources to encourage and refresh others through his writings to the church. Use the power of your words, written or verbal, to refresh and encourage the people you love. Communicate in every way you can to your loved ones and your friends.

2. Share your wealth, talents, and influence with others.

Be a positive influence not just for your own plans and intentions, but share your influence, wealth and talents with others. Remember that there is a cost to serving others, there is a cost to ministry. It cost Onesiphorus. We must be careful not to be so concerned with the cost of how we’re being inconvenienced that we lose sight of helping others.

3. Show Up for Others.

Onesiphorus showed up. He found Paul and supplied his needs. He could’ve brought him paper and pen, gave him updates on what was happening in the church and helped him with other needs. We live in a world that’s so busy, it can be difficult to make time for others, but when you can, you must show up and refresh others. You may miss birthdays, funerals because of life’s situations, but when you can show up. It made all the difference in the world to Paul. 

When my father died, there were four friends who visited the funeral and drive seven hours to be there with me. I will never forget it.

Jesus was a person who showed up. Jesus showed up for the man at the pool of Bethesda, for the woman at the well, for the sick and the lame. He showed up for us on the cross and one day, He’ll show up again. 

Right now, He needs us to show up for Him and bring Him glory. We must let others see our good works and glorify Him. When we show up, we ought to show up for Jesus even in the toughest times.