The teens of today have coined a phrase “BFF” to mean Best Friend Forever! I hear this a lot from them and it always brings a smile. If you ask them what qualities a “BFF” has, you hear always ready to listen, is there for me when no one else is and more. Isn’t it wonderful that our true BFF is Jesus who sticks closer than a brother and in return we show Him that we are His BFF by doing what he commands us to do. Today in our first chapter of the letter that Paul sent to Timothy there are two men who truly stand out as two of Paul’s BFF’s.
The first is Timothy. He is Paul’s dear child in the faith, and Paul longs to see him but because he is now incarcerated in a Roman dungeon cell with only a hole in the ceiling for air, food and water, it seems like a far off dream. He yearns that one day he will once again see his beloved Timothy. Therefore, Paul labors to send him an encouraging note to stay the course, “Hold to the standard of sound words that you heard from me and do so with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Protect that good thing entrusted to you, through the Holy Spirit.” He reminded timid Timothy that God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control and that he should not be ashamed of Paul’s imprisonment. God would use it for His glory.
The second is Onesiphorus, a quiet yet determined saint who traveled a long distance to encourage his BFF Paul in Rome having heard of his imprisonment. This precious BFF is one who searched all of Rome looking for him and what a blessed reunion when Onesiphorus found Paul! He stayed the course by coming to refresh Paul, openly showing his loyalty and true friendship in a time when the Emperor Nero was on the warpath looking for others to also throw to the lions and blame for his problems. Yet, Onesiphorus, unlike Phygelus and Hermogenes and perhaps Timothy, was unashamed and became the “wind beneath the apostle’s wings” when Paul was all alone. He truly understood that wherever one is they can be content and be used of God. Therefore, he came searching that he might fulfill this verse out of Proverbs: As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend. It was because of that that Paul could pray this for Onesiphorus: May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!
One of the themes of this book will be to “Encourage One Another.” Would you say that you are an Onesiphorus or a Timothy to someone in need of refreshing? Who will you encourage today?