By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.
Every night, when I come home after my three-hour graduate classes, I’m exhausted. I walk in the door dragging, slip off my shoes and change into more comfortable clothes, grab a bite to eat and sit down to relax a little before bedtime. But nearly every night, no matter how tired I am, I still call my mother to speak to her on the phone for a bit – and after that, I go online to chat with my younger sister for an hour or two about a lot of very random topics. By the end of that time, I’m no longer stressed out – I usually sign off for the evening with a smile on my face. It’s amazing the contrast between how I feel after three hours of classes and how I feel after the time spent talking to my family – class is draining, but spending time with my family is refreshing. Hearing my mother’s voice or laughing at my sister’s hilarious comments brings a flood of love and joy over me that washes away the weariness of the day.
God both allows us to experience refreshing through time spent with Him, and He enables us to share the blessing of that refreshing with others. No matter when we encounter each other, through Christ’s love in us we can be the encouragers, the uplifters, the ones who bring joy and strength to the lives around us no matter who they may be. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that all these verses refer to the refreshing quality of our fellowship with other believers. I think this is key – God has asked us to be salt in the world, and to bring light to the darkness, but while we’re doing that work we need support from our brothers and sisters in Christ along the way. As we go through our week of work and interact with those who live and work closely with us, let’s ask God to help us to bring refreshing to them – but let’s also specifically pay attention to those moments when we can lift up a fellow believer. When we work together, strengthening each other as members of the family of God, we will be far more effective in reaching those who are not yet a part of that family!