“Against All Odds: Encouraging Good News”

This reference to the little known character of Onesiphorus comes to us in the midst of a letter from Paul to Timothy in which Paul is encouraging Timothy to keep the seed of faith that was planted in him growing. Paul’s mention of Onesiphorus is almost a forgettable footnote within the letter, but his mention highlights the power of encouragement, and how little it takes sometimes to keep someone going on a difficult road where the odds seem too great to overcome.

What lessons can we glean from this letter to Timothy for our radically different lives today in our far-removed cultural setting? I think one lesson is that just a little encouragement can go a looong way. Another is that sometimes, all that is necessary to keep someone going on a difficult journey is the simple gift of just showing up. That’s all… Presence is an invaluable gift when well-timed.

Let’s reflect together on what the takeaways can be for us from this glimpse into Paul and Onesiphorus’ relationship.

  • How may we be overlooking simple opportunities to be an encouragement to others?
  • Who has been that simple, maybe even unawares, encourager in our lives?
  • How can we create a culture of encouragement within our own congregation?
  • Are there broader applications for how we as God’s people can play an encouraging role in our society?
  • What simple thing could I do to encourage someone needing it this week?

~ Pastor Carl