He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Friend to Friend
A few years ago a friend of mine almost single-handedly made all the decorations for our 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. More than 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, 1984 ed.). We always have the power to offer an encouraging word. 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. She decided to build a guest room onto their home for him to use when he came through town. The woman wanted nothing in return…it was just her way of blessing Elisha, of refreshing him, with her words and deeds.
Elisha was overwhelmed by her generosity and wanted to give her a gift 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” one another.
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.). Notice the action words in that verse: give attentive care, continuous care, watching over, studying how, stimulate, invite. Note the beginning of Paul’s exhortation where he instructs us to observe and then to speak. Not every person needs the same words of encouragement. We watch; we pray; and then we speak the words that will refresh each person most effectively.
Today, watch and pray. Then ask God to show you someone who needs a word of encouragement.
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so glad that You included the story of the Shunammite woman in the Bible. I pray that I can be more like her by observing what people need and then making a move to meet that need. Help me to be a “refresher” today, and thank You for continuously refreshing me.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you really want to be blessed today? I mean really blessed? Then turn in your Bible to 2 Kings 4:3-37 and read the entire story of Elisha and the Shunemite woman.
I want you to write down her response to her servant found in 2 Kings 4:23 down on a piece of paper.
How can you make that your response to whatever you are going through today?
Now, aren’t you glad you read the rest of the story?
More from the Girlfriends
One of the most powerful forces in the universe is the words you speak. They can encourage a child to accomplish great feats; a husband to reach for his dreams; and a friend to get up and try again. Your words can change the course of someone’s day…the course of someone’s life. If you would like to learn more about how to use your words to speak life into others and to tame your tongue, then check out The Power of A Woman’s Words. It also has a separate study guide and DVD. The answer to some of your most difficult situations may be right under your nose!