Let me help you – Onesiphorus (O-nes-i-for-us). Okay, we know how to say Onesiphorus, but what is an Onesiphorus?
Onesiphorus is not a what but a who. Here is what we know from 2 Timothy 1:16-18:
* he often refreshed Paul in the Asian province of Rome (Turkey)
* he was not ashamed of Paul being in chains
* when he arrived in Rome, Onesiphorus sought Paul out very zealously
That is Onesiphorus.
So what do we know about Onesiphorus? Not much else, other than some church traditions that are not so easy to substantiate.
So the question is in my mind, who does God use for His purpose? We can speculate the kind of man Onesiphorus was and make up a great tale of maybe some miraculous way he came to know the Lord, or some heroic tales of how he stood up against persecution, but really it will all be left up to the imagination and quite frankly – any story could be possible.
The fact remains – God uses ANYBODY.
We know that God used a murderer (Moses), an adulterer (David), and a womanizer (Samson), to name a few. In spite of their sin, God used them to accomplish His will.
You may say that you have not done any of the above but you feel you are disqualified due to [fill in the blank]. But God can use the worst of the worst as well as the kind of bad, but not really people too (a little sarcastic humor there).
There is unfortunately a large population of believers who have gone through the pain of divorce. We know God hates divorce, and maybe you were the one who instigated it or maybe not. Maybe it was done justifiably in the eyes of the Lord or maybe it was not (even that topic can be debated strongly). Either way, God can use you. We know that all sin was reconciled on the cross (as a side note, if you are walking arrogantly in your sin and have not repented, you need to get it right before the Lord. I believe if we walk in obedience, the Lord will use us in a greater capacity).
“Before Kay Arthur had a saving relationship with Christ, she was divorced, and she did many things that did not honor God. Today, she is a respected Christian speaker, author, and teacher through the grace of God. She says: ‘God chooses the base things, the foolish things, the things that are despised, the things that are nothing, so that no flesh can glory in His presence. He knew what was going to happen to me before I came to know Christ, and He has used that as a platform for ministry. You can step forward into any service that the Lord has called you to.'” (excerpt taken from One Day at a Time daily devotional from DivorceCare).
We could give many examples of the people God uses but ultimately, the Lord can and will use you. Whether you are shy or gregarious; whether you are young or very seasoned; whether you are newly saved or have been saved for decades; whether you have a wretchedly sinful past or wretchedly boring sinful past (we were all wretched sinners before Christ saved us) – God desires to use you.
The Lord used Onesiphorus to encourage, support and refresh one of the most important ministers of the Gospel this world has known. We don’t know much about Onesiphorus, but we do know that Paul needed his support.
My encouragement to you is that if there is a reason you are not being used for the kingdom, in whatever capacity the Lord has gifted you in and is leading you to, take those excuses of the enemy and flesh and bring them before the Lord. There is no reason for us NOT to be used. If you are still walking in a sinful behavior – confess it, repent and stop giving the enemy a reason to make you feel condemned. If you are one of those people who are stuck in the battlefield of your mind – turn that focus from yourself to focusing on glorifying the Lord in your thoughts, words and actions.
In this day and age where our Christian leaders are being oppressed for standing up for the righteousness of God and the truth of His word, the need for more people like Onesiphorus is even greater.Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began – 2 Timothy 1:6-9
To the glory of the Lord!
Bill Heckman