Be the Worker of Faith Like Onesiphorus

In life, we often encounter people who lack wisdom. The question then arises. What is wisdom? The etymology of the word wisdom is the Old High German word weistun meaning “judicial sentence serving as a precedent.” People who lack wisdom cannot set a precedent or an example. Such a lack of wisdom, unfortunately, is found in many Christians as well. They fail to set an example with their faith, deeds, and commitment. We as the true believers must possess wisdom.

In 2 Timothy, we come away with the impression that Apostle Paul was confined in a cold and lonely cell and he was abandoned by the churches and their members in Asia Minor. In fact, two of the church members named Phygellus and Hermogenes betrayed Apostle Paul and maligned him. Among other church members, however, there was a spiritually wise man named Onesiphorus. It is generally believed that the Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy was written approximately one or two years before Paul’s martyrdom. In the letter to his spiritual son Timothy, Apostle Paul points out Onesiphorus as a model for all believers. As for the meaning of the name Onesiphorus, it is “a person who brings profit.” What was it about Onesiphorus that Apostle Paul highly praised?

First, Onesiphorus often encouraged and refreshed Apostle Paul (2 Tim 1:16). He helped Apostle Paul heal loneliness and betrayal by encouraging and strengthening him. In case of wounds, they must first be rinsed, treated with antiseptics, and finally covered with dressings. Then, the astonishing healing power of the human immune system works wonders and wounds heal faster. Just as physical wounds need treatment, so do emotional wounds. Apostle Paul reveals that Onesiphorus often refreshed him. We are called to comfort and encourage others as did Onesiphorus (Isaiah 40:1).

Second, Onesiphorus was not ashamed of the Gospel. In spite of Apostle Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, Onesiphorus sought him out and found him (2 Tim 1:16-17). There were those in the churches of Asia Minor who were ashamed of Paul. While grateful for his work of evangelism, they found it shameful that Paul was imprisoned. As a result, they shunned him and declined his request. However, Onesiphorus remained grateful to Paul to the end. Out of such gratitude, he traveled many miles to Rome to see Paul. If we, like Onesiphorus, are grateful to Christ and His grace, we must not be ashamed of Christ, His Gospel, ministers, and fellow saints (Rom 1:16; Luke 9:26; 2 Tim 1:8). For a church to grow, there must be many believers who take pride in Christ, His Church, and their spiritual fathers, ordained pastors.

Third, Onesiphorus rendered many services to church (2 Tim 1:18). He ministered not only to Paul’s needs but also to the needs of the Church of Ephesus. Faithfully serving the church and ministers is same as serving Christ (Matthew 10:40-42). Our Lord says, “if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. (Matthew 10:42). Onesiphorus was not a lazy believer. He was a diligent and dedicated servant. Out of genuine love for the Lord, he served the church regardless of public recognition. The Lord looks favorably upon those who fulfill their responsibilities however small and insignificant they may be. As we willingly and voluntarily serve, God’s blessings of health and happiness will come upon us. When we render our service, we must do so by the help of God without complaints (1 Peter 4:11). As Paul looked back on the Church of Ephesus in his later years, the first person that came to his mind was Onesiphorus. He was like oxygen to Apostle Paul. Thus, he invoked the divine blessing of mercy twice upon Onesiphorus (2 Tim 1:16, 18). May you like Onesiphorus refresh the minds of others, take pride in the Gospel and ministers, and faithfully serve the Church. May God’s blessing of mercy be with you all.

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