“In the apostle Paul’s letter to someone he called his ‘beloved brother’,” Stan began, I saw another person I seek to model.”
“Who’s that?” I asked.
“A fellow by the name of Philemon,” Stan replied.
“What did he do that makes you want to model him?” I asked.
“He was a refresher,” Stan responded.
“A refresher?” I said. “What’s that mean?”
“I don’t know exactly what that means, and I don’t know exactly what Philemon did,” Stan replied, “but I do know that Paul described him as one who refreshed the hearts of his fellow believers.”
“And,” he continued, “I have been around enough Christians to identify those who refresh and those who don’t. So I think I have a pretty good idea of Philemon’s nature, and I want to be like him.”
“I think I see what you mean,” I replied. “I’ve certainly been around fellow believers enough to know when I am refreshed by being around them, and when I am not. Some make me glad to be around them, and some do not.”
“Exactly,” Stan said, “and Paul described his feelings about Philemon as resulting in ‘much joy and comfort’.”
“Much joy and comfort,” I repeated. “What a terrific way to be described!”
“You’re right, my friend,” Stan replied. “And that is why I said I want to be a Philemon. My prayer is to be one described that way, rather than as one who other Christians are more in a hurry to get away from!”
“And,” Stan concluded, “I think the best way, most likely the only way, to increase the chances of that happening is for me to be totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit so that His fruit, all of it, flows in and through me into the lives of others.”
“Flowing fruit. For joy and comfort.”
For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother. Philemon 7.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22, 23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for presenting people in your word who are models for who you want me to be, doing what you want me to do. I thank you for the picture of Philemon as being such a person who refreshed others by his presence. I confess that too often I do not refresh my fellow Christians as you intend, but am more likely to not refresh them. Please forgive me. And please fill me with all you want so that I will be a source of refreshment so that others will want to draw closer to you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.