Who’s Your Paul? A Letter to West Franklin
West Franklin Family,
Today I want to introduce you to a gentleman named Onesiphorus. Yeah, I don’t know how to pronounce it either. But that’s his name. His entire family received mercy from God because (arguably) the greatest Christian of all time prayed for them to receive mercy. He risked his life, not to preach the Gospel, but to help one who was. He prayed a lot obviously, but didn’t just pray. He traveled a lot. Not for business or pleasure. . . but to care for someone he loved. Once he went to a large city to search for the unsearchable, refusing to return home until the unsearchable was found and loved on. And I also have a pretty good feeling he ministered with pie. Just a hunch. Yep. Onesiphorus was a dude.
Consider these words from Paul to Timothy:
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! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)
See what I mean? A dude. One of those guys you want to be like and have in your own life.
Here’s what strikes me about these words from Paul about this man:
Onesiphorus didn’t just pray.
I know that may sound heretical, but think about it with me. Actually, go back and read the three verses from 2 Timothy again. What strikes me is that Onesiphorus could have just prayed and that would have been fine and good and the right thing to do. Every time he thought about Paul, he could have easily prayed for God to be with him, for God to protect him, for God to use him, for God to watch over him, for Paul to know and rest in the love of God for him, etc. etc. This is a good and right thing. But Onesiphorus didn’t stop there.
Onesiphorus became the vehicle by which God answered his prayers for Paul.
Are you tracking with me? I hope so, because I am getting tired of typing out Onesiphorus’ name. I am sure Onesiphorus prayed for Paul. But he didn’t just pray. He actually saw himself as a means by which Paul would be refreshed, ministered to, and loved on by God. When Paul was in Ephesus, Onesiphorus helped him there. When Paul was in Rome, Onesiphorus searched until he found him. Paul was considered dangerous. Being associated with him could have gotten one imprisoned or worse (and remember, Onesiphorus obviously had a family). But it broke Onesiphorus’s heart to think of Paul being deserted (see 2 Timothy 1:15), alone, scared, and hungry in a jail cell somewhere in a huge city. It broke his heart enough to lean in to God’s call on his life to go and care for Paul. He obviously prayed for Paul. But he heard God tell him to be the answer to his own prayers.
So, my fellow Onesiphorus’s – who’s your Paul?
We are entering month four of this dumb pandemic that I am beyond sick of. And to make matters worse, it seems to be getting worse – not better. This, of course, has hundreds of implications – but consider this one: people are going bat-poop crazy. I am. You are. We all are. Bat. Poop. Crazy. I’m probably crazy for writing that, but still. . .it’s true.
What did Onesiphorus do when he thought about Paul being alone in a jail cell, himself being on the verge of going crazy? He prayed for Paul. Yes. But then he went to him and refreshed him.
Who’s your Paul right now?
- Who is God telling you to call today?
- Who is God leading you to write a hand-written note to?
- Who needs you to go get groceries for them?
- Who needs an invitation to watch fireworks with you tonight?
- Who needs to see your face from a socially distant distance?
- Who needs to hear that you love them. . .from your own voice?
- Who needs a FaceTime call?
- Who needs a pie dropped off on their porch?
- Who needs some money to help pay the bills?
- Who needs to actually hear you pray for them, specifically, over the phone?
- Who needs a text that you are thinking about them?
- Who do you need to meet at a park to talk and walk?
- Who needs to simply just see your smile?
Do you (we) need to pray for each other? Yes. Of course. PLEASE. But how might the Father be leading you to actually be the answer to the prayers you are praying? West Franklin, we pride ourselves on being family. This pandemic is getting longer and longer, harder and harder. We are going nuts. We need to be refreshed. Who is your Paul today? This week? The next month?
Go be a dude (or dudette). And, for what it’s worth, I like pie. (Grin)
We Are Family,