“I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the love you have for all the holy people. So I never stop thanking God for you. I always mention you in my prayers.” Eph 1:15-16 (Simple English Bible)
Is it just me or did Paul appear to be so thankful for his fellow believers that he mentioned it nearly every letter? Was there a special mindset he had, which caused him to be gracious and appreciative of the churches and congregations to whom he had addressed his letters? Maybe I’m standing a little to far out in left field in the tall grass the near the fence line but if I check out my Thanksgiving Meter, I appear to be lacking in this area.
And since I do, it makes me wonder what Paul had that I don’t. Maybe he had more time on his hands for prayer and supplication. Perhaps he interacted on a daily basis with the people around him. Could it be that the gospel was foremost in his mind and he needed to share it wherever he went? The apostle’s concern for others must have been paramount.
So, I reckon than I should be more aware and appreciative of the people who walk through my life. Maybe I should stop standing in the tall grass, waiting for a fly ball to left before I become more involved in the game. And while I’m at it, perhaps my prayer life could be a little more intense.
“May the Lord give mercy to the Onesiphorus family. He often made me feel better and my being in jail, did not make him feel ashamed. No, when he was in Rome, he searched and searched until he found me!” II Tim 1:16-17 (Simple English Bible)
Taken at face value, this small description which Paul wrote, has wider implications. When the apostle was under house arrest and chained to one of Caesar’s guards, a fellow Christian, Onesiphorus, wanted to visit. Later in the same letter to the young minister, Timothy, Paul said that this man helped him a great deal during Paul’s stay in Ephesus. Since the apostle couldn’t leave his house, Onesiphorus went to look for him when he arrived in Rome.
Perhaps he had family there. Maybe he was doing business in the capital city. Or visiting the churches. Whatever the reason, Onesiphorus wanted to find Paul and find out how he was. I can image this man asking many people in the bustling city. “Do you know where the Christian prisoner, Paul, is?” Those who didn’t know might have later heard about the apostle and his ministry. Perhaps there were a few other helpful strangers who asked around, too. Those who did know might find it curious that people were looking for Paul.
Whatever the reason and whatever the explanation Onesiphorus might have given, the direction was always pointed towards Paul. And if anyone reached Paul, they would find the gospel!
Are you searching for anything that diligently? Or pointing people towards the gospel?
Maybe we should, don’t you think?
“Finally, brothers, think about good things and things that will bring praise — whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable.” Phil 4:8 (Simple English Bible)
Relationships are hard things because they involve people and people think differently. A wise man once told me that marriage simplifies life and complicates living. The older I’m getting, the more true this seems to be. The tendency in all of us is to focus on what is wrong. We like to point out the tiny specks in someone else’s eye but ignore the log in ours. It’s a lot easier to criticize than it is to change.
Yet it is that very change within ourselves that ensures commitment. If I am not prepared to see someone else’s point of view and seriously consider it, then I lose out on what could be a good idea. Not everything I think is a good thing to do, might not be what someone else needs.
Paul wrote wise words here. We need to put our minds on things that are praiseworthy.
Let’s speak the truth. Let’s praise loveliness and honorable actions. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s remain pure.