2 Timothy 1:15–18 (NKJV)
15 This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 18 The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day—and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.
Think about the people we think of as role models… many of them fall very short of modeling anything of value. We often think of presidents as being a great role model, until the next scandal breaks. We look at athletes as honorable because of the amount of dedication it takes to become the best, until they test positive for steroids. We look at Hollywood actors… okay, no we don’t. The point is this, who should we be emulating in our lives? Certainly, we should be living as Jesus lived, but I think there is a wonderful example that does not get the attention he deserves. His name is Onesiphorus, a footnote tucked away in the first chapter of 2nd Timothy.
Do Not Be like Phygellus and Hermogenes (however you pronounce their names)
There is one thing that I love most about Paul, he calls it as he sees it. I think far too often we try to be almost too kind in our assessment of a situation or person, we almost always give the benefit of the doubt. Paul calls these guys out and took a parting shot that has remained ringing for 2,000 years. Paul basically says, these guys were with men until the going got tough. The fact that Paul called them out by name is an indication that these guys would have been well known. Can you imagine having the privilege of hanging out and learning from Paul and they just turn your back on him? Talk about missing out! Is that not exactly how we can treat the Lord? If we are in a tough conversation, do we glorify Him or try to avoid the confrontation? Do the people around you understand what you believe and why? Are you willing to defend the Gospel at all costs? These guys certainly didn’t… don’t be like these guys.
Then There Is Onesiphorus
Take a close look at what Paul says about Onesiphorus. He starts off by wishing a blessing upon his family. Why did he want the Lord to grant mercy to his household? He often refreshed Paul and was not ashamed of his chain. Is that how we deal with our friends? Are we always there to refresh them? Think about what it means when you have a friend that is always there for you… That is Onesiphorus in a nutshell, always there. Better yet, is this how we treat our relationship with the Lord? Are we always there to help His cause, are we ashamed of Him in any way? Then do we seek the Lord as Onesiphorus sought after Paul? What a great example of how we should seek after the Lord!
Then the way Paul finishes this section of scripture is absolutely powerful… you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus. How does the world see us? How do our friends view us? Do they see us ministering constantly to friends and family? Do they see the faith we have in a way that it would spread throughout the community? When our time comes to an end, what will be the legacy we leave behind? I want to leave the legacy of Onesiphorus, a faithful friend, dedicated to the Lord, a person that would have done anything to refresh someone in need.
Sometimes our role models come from very unforeseen places. We do not see much of Onesiphorus in the Bible, but what we do see is worthy of emulating. Allow us to move forward in dedication to both our Lord and our friends just as Onesiphorus would.
Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.