Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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I admire my friends who are marathon runners. I don’t want to be one of them, but I admire them. I actually did have a bit of a running program going when my kids were little. Every morning, I used to run around the block twenty times, until my son moved the block! Sorry. I’ve never run a marathon. I’ve watched some, and I’ve talked to my friends who have done the whole 26-mile distance. If you’ve ever watched or run a marathon, you’ve seen those volunteers, probably, that are stationed all along the way-the ones with the orange slices and water. As the miles become more and more grueling, the body can actually begin to shut down. Water is desperately needed to avoid dehydration. The potassium in those orange slices replenishes an important deficit in your body. I think it’s probably questionable if many runners could make it if it weren’t for those little like refreshment stands.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Walking, Talking Refreshment Stands.”
In a way, I guess all of us are marathon runners. Just look at the course you have to run every day, every week, every month, and so on. And all of us reach those points where we feel like we can’t go on; where a vital system seems to be shutting down. And that’s where the refreshment folks are desperately needed. I hope the folks around you consider you one of those.
Every one of us needs people who will be our refreshers. We all know people who need for us to be their refresher. In fact, here’s a great example of one of those unsung heroes, as recorded in our word for today from the Word of God. It’s in 2 Timothy 1:16-18, and Paul is writing about this lonely season of his life. He’s isolated in Caesar’s prison, awaiting what will ultimately be his execution. Now this man who has helped so many run their race needs someone to help him finish his.
And along comes a man with a name that’s a mouthful and a ministry that is wonderful. Paul says, “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day!” Onesiphorus: the name literally means “profit-bringer.” That’s something all of us can be-someone who makes a person richer because they have been with you.
To be one of God’s refreshment stands, you’re there for someone when it’s awkward and you don’t know what to do or you don’t know what to say. You’re there when it’s hard, when it’s inconvenient, when they’re un-loveable, or when you have to “search hard” to find a way to get to them. You go out of your way to bring some love and some support to a person who needs it. You walk in when everyone else is walking out. Your ministry of refreshment can take many forms. Sometimes it’s just a hug. Other times it’s a compliment, or a word of encouragement, a letter or e-mail, a text, a visit, noticing something good, or praying with them.
It’s usually just a matter of obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit instead of quenching that prompting. My guess is He’s prompting you all the time to make a move in someone’s direction, because He knows who needs what you could give. Learn to listen to those promptings from God. I’ll tell you what, it’s one of the ways you lead a supernatural life. Don’t blow off the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
God’s promise to you is this: “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” He’ll give back to you with the measure you give. So what effect are you having on the people around you? Are you making it harder for them to run the race? Or are you one of those holy heroes whose offering them the refreshing care that they need? You actually may be the difference in someone running the distance!