May 19, 2023

Beat the Heat - Finding Refreshment for our Souls

The heat is on.

Well, at least it is starting to feel that way outside again. With the heat comes the moments of those sweat drenched days of doing any type of work outside. It is a blessing to be able to be outside for sure, but the heat can sometimes get to you.

Do you ever feel like the heat is on in your life?

Not the rising of the temperature in your car that has been sitting all day in the heat of summer type of heat, but the rising of trials, troubles and stress in your life that can make your life feel like you are reaching your boiling point.

Life has a way of taking our breath just like stepping outside when the humidity is at 90% or better.

In both cases, there is often the need for some refreshment from the heat. The apostle Paul shares often about the need for refreshment in his life as he served the Lord, but he gets very specific in one case. Paul shows us that it is often people in our lives that God uses to help cool the heat of our troubled soul.

In 2 Timothy 1:16-17 Paul said, “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.”

The word that Paul used refreshed means to cool off, to recover from the effects of the heat, to revive or recover one’s breath.

The moment I read that I thought of brother Henry Smith, Mr. Henry I often called him. I had the blessing of pastoring Mr. Henry many years ago. He is with the Lord now, but he blessed me so much in those days.

He would always wear overalls with a long sleeve white shirt. Even on Sundays (he had his weekday overalls and his Sunday overalls!) which I loved.

Mr. Henry loved to garden and work outside if he was able. I would often ask him why in the hot summer sun he would not wear short sleeves while working out in the garden.

He would tell me, preacher I get to sweating out there in that garden spot and that shirt will get damp with my sweat and I can get so hot I can barely stand it. Just then, that cool breeze comes up from the creek down below the house, it will blow across that sweat drenched shirt, it just refreshes me.

That is the exact word picture Paul was sharing about Onesiphorus. Paul, beat down, in prison when he wrote this, feeling the heat of life and ministry said the moment Onesiphorus stepped into where he was, it felt like a cool breeze had swept across his sweat drenched soul. What a word for us today!

This man, Onesiphorus revived Paul’s spirit just by his very presence and on top of that He sought Paul out and was not ashamed of his chains. In other words, he was not there to beat Paul up but to build Paul up. He was there to be a blessing not a burden.

Just this week, there were so many who God used to call me, text me or just speaking a word that refreshed my soul. It is Christ in them and it has to be Christ in us that allows us to be that person to others.

May Christ refresh our spirits so we can refresh others.

Paul would say in 2 Corinthians, we are comforted so we can also comfort others. May that be true of us all.

May God help each of us to search out those who need to be refreshed and be that person in their lives. It is my prayer along the way this summer, we all enjoy some cool breezes that refresh our bodies and our souls.

Pastor Michael