“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 1:7
Don’t you love receiving an invitation which includes the words, “Refreshments will be provided”? We understand that to mean that snacks and drinks will be available – but the invitation rightly identifies these treats as “refreshments”. There is something wonderful about receiving a refreshing glass of cool drink, when you have been working in the hot summer sun. The fact that we often need refreshment suggests accurately that we live in a weary, tiring world.
And in this weary world, we will all discover people who bring refreshment into our lives, and others who don’t. Alistair Begg has said: “We all know that there are people who are enervating, and there are people who are energizing. There are people who suck the air out of your balloon, just when they’re walking towards you, and there are others who are able to put a little bit of air into your balloon.”
Philemon was the latter. He refreshed the hearts of the saints! How deeply Paul appreciated this brother who was like a glass of cool water to the apostle’s parched soul. While each of us faces unique circumstances in our daily lives, yet we each also face the choice of bringing refreshment into the hearts of others, or of sucking the air out of their balloons! We need to ask ourselves, “Are we generally a burden to others, or do we generally bring refreshment into the lives of our brothers and sisters?” Often, part of the solution to our own struggles, is taking our minds off of ourselves, and seeking to be a refreshment to others who are struggling.
The ultimate refreshment is the gospel of Jesus Christ! The familiar words of Matthew 11:29 are rendered this way in one translation: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find refreshment for your souls.” As those who have had the extreme privilege of drinking from Him who is the Fountain of Life, may we be intentional in refreshing the hearts of the weary saints around us, by reminding them of the eternal, soul-refreshing love of the Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!