By Rev Clifford Chisha
There are times in life when we find ourselves in situations where we really need someone to be there for us or provide what we are unable to access due to the circumstances surrounding us.
Times when those who are close to us feel ashamed to be associated with us or fear to be burdened by us do come in life.
Times when some desert us for fear of victimisation.
When such times come, we need true friends.
Healthy friendships become a source of refreshment during such times.
Apostle Paul did experience such times in his life.
There was a time when the people Paul could count on deserted him when he was imprisoned.
The time when this great leader needed help from many, many deserted him.
“You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.” (2 TIMOTHY 1:15)
Key people who could have rendered the much needed support made themselves unavailable. It seemed as if “all” had deserted him.
However, a person by the name of Onesiphorus made himself available to support Paul.
His name means “help-bringer” or “one that brings profit” and he lived up to the meaning of his name.
He greatly helped Apostle Paul.
“May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.”
(2 TIMOTHY 1:16)
“On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.”
(2 Timothy 1:17)
Apostle Paul brings out important things which can cause us to conclude that the friendship he shared with Onesiphorus was a healthy one and a source of refreshment.
- Onesiphorus used to refresh Paul.
“…he often refreshed me…”
Allow me to suggest that Onesiphorus refreshed Paul through his visits to the prison,supplying him with food and other necessities.
Spiritual conversations were most likely part of what Paul enjoyed with Onesiphorus.
He intentionally blessed Paul.
The friendship Paul and Onesiphorus shared was a very healthy friendship.
As leaders, we need such kind of friendships.
- He stood with Paul, a prisoner.
“… and was not ashamed of my chains.”
He was not ashamed to associate himself with apostle Paul, though he was bound with a chain; nor was he ashamed of the cause for which he suffered.
Sometimes leaders find themselves in awkward situations and suffer desertion for doing what is right.
This is one of the reasons why leaders need healthy friendships.
They need friends who can stand with them even when their status changes downwards.
iii. He made efforts to locate Paul.
“…when he was in Rome,he searched hard for me until he found me.”
There were many prisons in Rome, so it was probably difficult for Onesiphorus to find Paul, but he did.
He sacrificed his time and other resources.
He exhibited true friendship.
We need friends who are like Onesiphorus, friends who can sacrifice to refresh us, not only in good times but in difficult times as well.
Friends who can make our burdens lighter.
Have you laboured to make healthy friendships?
Do you have friends you can confidently call true friends?
Healthy friendships can be a source of strength and courage when we are faced with intense difficulties.