Standing Firm: True Companionship in Ministry

2 Timothy 1:16
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.

As a preacher of the Gospel, I understand full well what it means to have those who, for all practical purposes, are only with you when it makes them look good. In other words, they are with you in word only (of course, just when they’re around you), but not in deed. You learn real quickly who your real friends are by sitting back and observing who will stand with you when the religious “elite” put their proverbial chains on you to try to bind you down. If you have friends who become afraid to be associated with you because of your “bonds” and “afflictions” for Christ, then my friend, you have just found yourself someone who is more loyal to those who want you bound than they are to you. Ministry has no place for spineless companions. When you’re in the heat of the battle, that is not the time to be figuring out who is really with you and who isn’t.

Although that happens no matter how hard you try to prevent it, you learn eventually to be able to discern who you can trust and who you can’t. Here, Paul gives us an honorable mentioning of one of his “true blue” friends. Onesiphorus was said to have “refreshed” Paul often, and more importantly, he was not ashamed of Paul’s bonds. In other words, it made no difference to Onesiphorus what everybody else was saying about Paul, nor what they were doing to him. Onesiphorus simply saw Paul for who he really was, an anointed man of God, and then did his duty to aid Paul in his ministry, even at the “expense” of being publicly affiliated with him.

Isn’t it funny at just how big the difference is between how many “public” friends you have in ministry, verses how many “secret” friends you have? You know what I mean; those “secret” friends who smooch up to you in private conversations, but if caught around others who do not like you, would change their entire attitude towards you in a flash. Oh yes, some of you may be shocked that this kind of thing happens in ministry; don’t be! Wherever there are humans, there will be two-facedness. My challenge for you is, don’t be one of them! Find you a man of God that needs refreshing, and aid him in his cause, and stand WITH him even in bonds!

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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