Philemon the “Refresher” of Hearts

high angle view of lying down on grass

Rest. God did it on the seventh day. The Sabbath was a day of rest for all the Israelites. In fact, it was mandated that nobody do any work on the sabbath. Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to rest and pray. Rest is vital to be refreshed. In the US we average 6.8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is important. Rest is important. When we don’t take time to rest we burn out and our health suffers.

Philemon must have known this well because it was his love for the saints that compelled him to refresh their hearts: “I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the saints. . . For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philemon 1:5, 7 ESV). Paul also says to Philemon: “Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ” (vs. 20).

This “refreshing” means to give rest to or to make to take rest after laboring. Apparently Philemon knew the value of his fellow saints and recognized that burned out Christians were of little use for the kingdom. As fellow Christians, our love for one another should compel us to refresh others. There are unlimited ways we can do this, but it’s vital that we all take time to rest from our labors so we can continue to the work of the church.