We find in II Timothy 1:16-18 that Paul talks about the house of Onesiphorus and says of him that, “he oft refreshed me” and “he ministered unto me.” What a testimony this man had towards the servant of God. Paul was thankful to this man who had helped him along the way, more than once. This household both refreshed Paul and ministered to him. I’m not sure if they provided Paul with a place to stay, food to eat, clothes, supplies for the journey, special prayer or just a place to relax, but Paul was thankful to these people. May all of us Christians learn to minister to others and refresh others!
Here are a few ways you can refresh and minister to your missionaries:
- With your Mouth — Give them a call and let them know. Speak to them when they visit your church. Find out something about them, their interests, birthdays, names and prayer requests. Use your mouth to encourage them along the way. Proverbs 16:24 says that pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Use your mouth to refresh the servants of God on the front lines.
- With your Hands — send them an email of encouragement. Correspond with them, letting them know that they are not forgotten. Let them know you are praying for them and your church wants to send more laborers to help them. III John says we do well when we help along the journey those that have went forth for the Name’s sake (vs.6-7). When a missionary comes by the church on deputation, receive them, help them out, give them a handshake with a bill in the palm of your hand. We do well when we use our hands to help these godly soldiers on their journey for Gospel’s sake.
- With your Feet — take a trip and visit them. Send your pastor or youth group to go visit the missionaries. Luke ministered to Paul with medical attention, the Shunammite woman and her husband ministered to Elisha by giving him a place to stay (II Kings 4:8-10) and Phoebe was a helper in many general ways (probably housing, food, finances and encouragement — Romans 16:1-2). Don’t wait for the missionaries to go to you, use your feet and go to them.
- With your Heart — Be willing to send your kids on a mission’s trip. How come is it that we are often willing to let others go but try to guard our own children from visiting? Would we as parents be willing to allow our children to pray about being missionaries? Our heart follows our money (Mt. 6:21), so support missionaries financially and even consider giving a special gift towards a project they have or just a “non-expected” offering.
We should strive to be like the house of Onesiphorus, both ministering and refreshing the servants of the Lord. It doesn’t matter about our talents or abilities, all of us can use our mouths, feet, hands and hearts to refresh those carrying the Gospel.