_bearefreshmentOur air conditioner went out last Friday, so if you asked me how my weekend was, I’d reply with one word: sweaty. When the repair man came on Monday and that cold air started blowing again, it was amazingly refreshing.

Just as our bodies need refreshment, so do our souls. Even great men of faith like Paul the Apostle needed it. According to the 1-chapter-long New Testament letter named after its recipient, Philemon, Paul’s soul was refreshed by his friend Philemon.

He mentions it first as a statement:

“the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother” – Philemon 7

and then as a request:

“refresh my heart in the Lord.” – Philemon 20

Encouragement has always been a weakness of mine. I often think of encouraging things, but I don’t voice them nearly as often (I wrote a blog about how I used my iPhone to counteract that weakness). I think the problem for me is that I often overthink and in turn, over-complicate encouragement. Although there is a time and place for big displays of encouragement and love, often times it’s as simple as a text message, phone call or email. As followers of Jesus, “the hearts of the saints [should be] refreshed by us.” Below are some ways I want to refresh those around me. It’s a work in progress. Hopefully these ideas spark some ideas for you…

1) The heart of my wife should be refreshed by my love for her and desire to serve her.

2) The hearts of my kids should be refreshed by my compassion toward them and the fun we have together.

3) The hearts of my team should be refreshed by my servant-hearted leadership, my faith and my words of wisdom.

4) The heart of my church should be refreshed by my honesty and commitment to read, study and teach God’s Word.

5) The hearts of my neighbors should be refreshed to live near our family, as we do our best to be hospitable and helpful.

6) The hearts of strangers we run into should be refreshed by my attitude and cheerfulness.

7) The heart of the waiter/waitress serving our table should be refreshed that I’m not demanding and rude (and that I tip well!).

8) The hearts of the other pastors in Clarksville should be refreshed that we serve together to reach our city, even from across the city in different buildings.

9) The hearts of those in leadership over me should be refreshed by my willingness to serve and honor their authority.

10) The heart of the guy who inconvenienced me the other day should be refreshed that I didn’t snap at him, but responded in love and patience.

As I said, this is all a work in progress. I’m not always great in all of these areas, but I pray that God would help me grow in them and I work hard to be refreshing to the people around me.

Every single day we have the opportunity to be a refreshment. With Jesus living inside of us, we should take every opportunity we get!