ODJ: doing big things

May 15, 2015 

READ: 2 Timothy 1:12-18 

May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me (v.16).

In the early 1990s, the South African Broadcasting Corporation concluded its official programming at midnight and then played music through the night. Upon hearing songs with a Christian message being played, a man discovered that a young woman was selecting the overnight music, so he and his church provided her with a vast collection of spiritually-themed songs. Christ-centred music was played overnight on the three national television stations for years. By her actions, one seemingly insignificant woman made a big difference in the lives of many listeners.

Onesiphorus was a seemingly insignificant person in the Bible, but he proved to be a great help to an ageing apostle who was in prison awaiting his appeal to Caesar (2 Timothy 1:16). Although Paul remained strong in his faith (4:7-8,17), he was deeply disappointed at being deserted by everyone in Asia. Many had been too embarrassed or afraid to associate with him because he was in prison (1:15-16). He was also lonely at times, with only Luke as a companion (4:11), and he battled physical discomfort, for he asked Timothy to bring his coat and urged him to do his best to come before winter (vv.13,21).

In the midst of disappointment, discomfort and loneliness, God strengthened Paul by way of Onesiphorus, whose name means “bringing profit” or “useful”. He was an encourager by nature and had helped Paul while in Ephesus (1:18). Onesiphorus also sought Paul out when he came to Rome and frequently visited the weary apostle in prison (v.16).

We could all use an ‘Onesiphorus’ in life, and maybe—more important—we can be one to someone who needs encouragement today. Even seemingly small words and actions can be used in big ways by God.

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Psalm 51:1-19

Read 1 Timothy 4:12 and consider Paul’s encouraging words to Timothy. 
How can God use your weakness for His glory? What big things has He placed before you to attempt?