a devotional by S. Jaynes:
Refreshment for Refreshers
“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV).
A few years ago, a friend of mine almost single-handedly made all the decorations for the church Christmas program. She worked for months on white flowing robes, sparkling sheer backdrops, and frosted glittery stage props. The church was transformed into a picturesque heavenly wonderland that took our imaginations to a different world. Well, over 2,000 people viewed the Christmas program and marveled at Mary’s handiwork. And what did Mary receive for all her effort…one note of thanks.
My greatest regret is that I did not write that note.
“Of course I didn’t do the work to get accolades or pats on the back,” Mary told me later. “But I read that one note over and over again.”
Many times a word of thanks or appreciation is the only reward a fellow believer in Christ receives this side of heaven. The writer of Proverbs wrote, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
Could it be that it is our words that are meant to be the refreshment they are longing for?
Another wise saying notes” “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).
We always have the power to offer an encouraging word…may we never withhold such a valuable treasure from those traveling down the road of faith with us. Mother Teresa said, “Kind words are easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
The prophet Elisha met a woman who understood that God’s people need encouragement along their journey. One day as he was passing through the town of Shunem, a wealthy woman urged him to join her and her husband for dinner. During their time together, she discerned that Elisha was a holy man and decided to build a guest room onto their home for him to use when he came through town. She wanted nothing in return; it was just her way of blessing Elisha, of refreshing him, with her words and ways.
Elisha was overwhelmed by her generosity and wanted to give a gift to her in return. But when Elisha offered to speak to the King on her behalf, she assured him that she did not want, need, or expect anything for her kindness. Elisha wouldn’t take no for an answer and continued to contemplate the perfect hostess gift.
Gehazi, his servant came up with a splendid idea…a child. “Well, she has no son and her husband is old,” Gehazi remarked. Great idea. Elisha called her to the doorway and announced, “About this time next year you will hold a son in your arms” (2 Kings 4:16). And she did!
I just love to watch people try to “out nice” each other. That’s exactly what we see in the story of Elisha and the woman from Shunem. How wonderful it would be if we used our words to try to “out nice” each other.
Paul wrote, “Let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir and stimulate and invite to love, and helpful deeds and noble activities” (Hebrews 10:22 Amp.).
This was not a flippant command. Notice the actions words: give attentive care, continuous care, watching over, studying how, stimulate, invite. Notice at the beginning of Paul’s exhortation, he instructs us to observe and then to speak. Not every person needs the same word of encouragement. We watch; we pray; and then we speak the words that will refresh them most effectively.
Today, watch and pray. Ask God to show you who in your sphere of influence needs an encouraging word.