Today’s Bible reading is Ezekiel 10 and Philemon.
For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 7)
Take a moment to think about what it feels like to be refreshed. A good night’s sleep after a long and trying day. A cup of cold water in the shade after hours of work in the sun. A few days off after having your nose to the grindstone for months. Our bodies and minds need periodic refreshment.
So do our hearts–not the blood pumps in our chests, but our inner beings–the fount of our feelings and affections and determinations. That’s one of the things that stood out about a first-century disciple in Colossae named Philemon. He was a source of refreshment to the hearts of the saints around him.
Notice that this wasn’t just a personality trait or the side-effect of being a people-person.
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints… (4-5)
Philemon was a channel, not a reservoir. Philemon was a participant, not a spectator. Like a branch of a vine, he was drawing life, purpose, joy, comfort, hope, love, and peace from Christ and passing those blessings on to others. Even an apostle had “derived much joy and comfort” from Philemon’s love (7) and was able to request in a difficult and awkward situation, “Refresh my heart in Christ” (20).
Two things to think about today:
First, if we’re going to be similar sources of life, purpose, joy, comfort, hope, love, and peace to others, we need healthy personal connections to Jesus. We cannot share what we do not have. Let’s drink deeply from the well of living water today in order to refresh ourselves and have something meaningful to pass on to others.
Second, like an ice-cold bottle of water in the desert, the refreshers are going to stand out (for the right reasons) in a season where many are spending their days and using their voices to grumble, groan, quarrel, gossip, backbite, slander, and tear down. That conduct may result in short-term attention, but it flows downhill into a dark reservoir of bitterness and ruin. Disciples of Jesus are to be known for better attitudes, actions, and reactions. We are transformed, renewed channels of blessing–loved, steadfast, immovable, abounding in the Lord’s work to the Lord’s glory.
All of which leads to this question: whose heart could use some refreshment in Christ today?