It seems to be a common theme when I ask people how they’re doing.
It’s the busyness of life. It’s the constant hours. It’s the trouble and the pain and the exhaustion that comes from living in a fallen world.
People are in need of being refreshed.
Refreshing the Hearts of the Saints
Paul opens up his letter to Philemon by praising him for the great things he’s heard about Philemon.
“I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,” Paul writes. “For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
Many believe that Philemon, who was a wealthy Christian, was very charitable towards the poor of his church. This met physical needs, of course – but it also soothed worries, encouraged his brothers, and helped them feel the love of Christ.
But is that what’s needed today?
Surely that’s helpful in many circumstances. But sometimes in our affluent culture, money is just what we give when we don’t want to really be bothered with something.
I remember when we had our second child: we were blessed with plenty of meals from good friends. But even though that was helpful (and delicious), meals were only part of what my wife needed.
She craved some human interaction – just an hour at the coffee shop with a friend, away from crying babies and diapers. Unfortunately, those moments were in short supply.
People were eager to give food. Eager to give money. Eager to give gifts. But time was a different story.
I bet when you read the intro to this post, you identified with it. I know you’re tired. I imagine you were interested to read about how you could be refreshed.
But I’m not talking about you.
This isn’t a post about how you can seek refreshment. I hope this gets us thinking about others and their needs.
I hope we see the tired, and the hurt, and the broken around us – and can’t help but abound in love for them. I hope that our desire to refresh them overflows.
Not Time, but Love
I know what you’re thinking. You’re internally slamming the brakes. You like the idea of spending time refreshing others, but right now you’re rationalizing and thinking of excuses.
In that case, I’ve got good news.
I don’t think refreshing the hearts of the saints is something that is necessarily done with time. It’s done with love.
The loving thing to do for Philemon was to care for physical needs with his financial resources. The loving thing for us may be simply to call a friend to let them know we’re thinking of them.
It doesn’t take but a few minutes to send out an encouraging Email. An occasional lunch meeting probably doesn’t take up much more time than you would have spent on lunch anyway.
I think it’s our attention that people crave – not necessarily our time. And not only is refreshing the saints easier than we may think, it’s fun.
What are some easy, creative ways you can refresh the hearts of the saints you know?
Photo Credit: Anna Levinson (Creative Commons)
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