I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother (Philemon 1:4-7).
We all need to be spiritually refreshed, and one way that God does that for you is through other believers.
For example, take Philemon.
Paul was writing to Philemon on behalf of the runaway slave, Onesimus, who had somehow wronged Philemon (v 11). Philemon’s love and faith were well known to the Christian community. In fact, the Apostle had “great joy and consolation” in Philemon’s love. Ever sit by a warm fire on a cold day? That’s how it felt to be with Philemon—he warmed hearts with his love. Have you ever met a Christian like that?
Of course, that’s not true of every church member, and it’s probably not always true of you, either. We don’t all bring consolation, do we? Some people only bring complaints and strife and leave you more tired and stressed out than before. When you leave, you aren’t refreshed.
Jesus commanded you to love your neighbors, not because that’s a condition of eternal salvation, but because your neighbors really need the help. Your neighbors have been dried out by the stains and darkness of this world and they need to be refreshed by the little island of love, grace, and human compassion you can cultivate around you, just as Philemon did.
What would Paul say about you? Are you refreshing other believers? Are you the man or woman at church who builds people up in their walk with Christ? Will you be a Philemon in your church?