His name only appears twice in the Bible and only in one book. It’s not a name many people use these days but if the character of the person comes with the name, maybe folks ought to consider it.
I know this… every pastor needs a staff member like this. And every worship leader has the awesome opportunity to be this kind of friend to the pastor. We need more staff members like this guy, Onesiphorus.
In II Timothy 1:16 it says, “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me…”. (CSB)
It seems Onesiphorus sought out where Paul was and found a way to get to him what he needed. Paul says Onesiphorus “refreshed” him as Paul languished in a Roman cell. The picture is one of a cool breeze blowing across the face of a parched soul.
I saw this on a church sign recently – “You can be a fountain, or you can be a drain.” I’m not sure how appropriate that is for the sign out front, but it applies here. We can all make a choice no matter how our pastor may be leading us at any given time. For the sake of the Gospel and the people we serve, we can choose to be an encouragement to our leader.
The writer of Hebrews had something to say about this. In Hebrews 13:17 we read, “Obey your leaders and submit to them as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief.” If I’m thinking rightly about my responsibilities as a staff member, following my leader in a way that brings joy to him is part of my focus.
That doesn’t say to do that only when he deserves it – it doesn’t address his leadership at all, only to say that he will give an account for it to God. My part is to focus on how I follow.
Today you can noodle all day on the ways your pastor disappoints you. You can find sympathetic ears to unload your frustration. You can completely destroy your family’s opinion of the pastor by focusing on all of his shortcomings.
Or you can search out where he is, figure out what he needs, and work to get it for him.
You can be a cool breeze.
You can be Onesiphorus.
Mike Harland is the Director of Lifeway Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.