Day 2 of 14 • This day’s reading
Where Can We Find a Breath of Fresh Air?
The apostle Paul, who regularly endured hostility and persecution, had reason to be in the doldrums. His life as an evangelist was far from easy. So in the midst of life’s storms and unending obligations, how did Paul find an environment that was both life-giving and life-changing?
In a little-known passage, Paul described one friend in particular as one who “refreshed” him. His name was Onesiphorus, and he was one of those obscure, behind-the-scenes guys you may never have heard of. The Greek word Paul used to describe this friend literally means “to put breath back in, to recover breath.” It’s as if Onesiphorus gave Paul emotional CPR, breathing encouragement and inspiration into his Christian brother.
Maybe you have a friend like that, someone who always manages to cheer you up and cheer you on, to offer support and friendship in tangible ways. Or you’ve sensed the difference between a place with fresh air and a place without it. There’s something, some quality in certain people and their attitudes, that can transform any environment into a magnetic, life-giving, enjoyable place to be.
At the office, it’s the difference between an environment where everyone watches the clock and one where the time flies by and everyone enjoys what they do and feels committed to working together as a team. In a life-giving home, you feel special, like you belong. The people seem genuine and down to earth, glad that you’re there and eager to offer you their hospitality.
And when a church has this life-giving factor, you sense it within the first visit. You sing the same songs, read the same Bible as in any other church, but there’s something different about the atmosphere of the place. The people enjoy serving one another. There’s a healthy sense of love and mutual admiration, a shared commitment to similar values, and an anchor of confident security in their faith. You want some of what they have!
When did you most recently notice a person or place that brought you a “breath of fresh air”? What were the circumstances? How did this person or location refresh you? If you long for your own Onesiphorous, begin to pay close attention to the source of any cool, refreshing breezes that are currently blowing in your life. Once you are able to recognize the intangible qualities that invigorate you, you will find it easier to pursue their sources.
Copyright 2007 Fellowship for the Performing Arts