Onesiphorus; although a little known character of the New Testament he was fondly remembered by the Apostle Paul. His name is mentioned in only one book, that being 2 Timothy 1:16-18 and 4:19. From this single record he is known as a man of compassion, courage, and faithfulness.
As recorded in 2 Timothy 1:16, Paul says, “Onesiphorus often refreshed me.” The word refresh can also imply taking the stress off of another person. Therefore, this kind hearted brother helped Paul get through a difficult time in his life. How we appreciate those in the body of Christ who think of others in their time of need. This reminds me of a card ministry at my mother’s church. They’re appropriately named, “Because We Care,” and I cannot count the times, when their loving concern has lifted my spirits during a difficult time. We need more people in the body of Christ like Onesiphorus and the “Because We Care” ministry, who are willing to reach out to those in need with the love of Jesus. Onesiphorus was also courageous in that he was not afraid of Paul’s imprisonment, neither was he ashamed of this dear brother (verse 16). In this time of his life, Paul was in a very dark and dismal situation. The Roman government hated him to say the least, and here is this brother with a family to care for, yet he puts his life on the line for his friend! What a true friend he was to Paul. Who wouldn’t cherish a friend like this? With this one act, he epitomizes what true friendship is all about.
Another quality found in this brother is found in verse 17 where it says in part, “He eagerly searched for me and found me.” This statement screams, “BROTHER PAUL, WHERE ARE YOU? I LOVE YOU BROTHER; I WON’T GO HOME UNTIL I FIND YOU!” Needless to say, he could have looked around town half-heartedly and then left saying, “I tried, but couldn’t find Paul.” No one would have been mad at him, for it appears he’s already done more than most of the others put together. However, this wasn’t his style; he came with a faithful and sincere hear. Even though he risked his own life, he came to serve his dear friend Paul. At this point, what more can be said about this man? Except, perhaps, what an example he was, and still is, to all of us.
If nothing else, he’s given us some things to think about. For example, do we want to be known as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, or just some one who did just enough to get by? When we die we are going to leave a legacy for the next generation. One day our grand-children or someone else’s grand-children will talk about something we’ve done or how we dealt with a certain situation. At that time, what will be the life lesson we’ve taught them, and what will be the legacy we’ve left them to apply to their own lives? It can be one that builds Faith into their lives, or leads them to believe they can do things their own way.
Joshua made a very striking statement in Joshua 24:15b, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” If you agree with that attitude, then why not start by applying these same principles to our own lives that Onesiphorus applied to his life. Who knows, perhaps someone will say of us, “he or she was a man or woman of God, they lived a life of compassion, courage, and faithfulness.” What a legacy that would be to pass on to the next generation!