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Refresh – give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate

Proverbs 11 has lots of good, happy advice, like:

The righteous person is rescued from trouble (8)

Those who are kind benefit themselves (17)

One person gives freely, yet gains even more (24)

The happy verse that really caught my attention though, was verse 25, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

While we all like to be refreshed from time to time, I don’t think that we think a lot about that word, or that concept. At least I didn’t until I read Proverbs 11.

When I think of being refreshed, I think of liquid refreshment, mainly water. One time, years ago, when I lived in the U.S. I was driving and began to feel nauseous, and then I was sure I was going to vomit, so I pulled into a gas station, and parked at the edge, next to a fence. I got out and sure enough I was soon throwing up. I felt terrible; weak and sick. Then a man who lived in the house next to the gas station, approached the fence with a glass of water and handed it to me. What a surprise! What a good Samaritan he was. I drank the water, thanked the man, and within minutes felt greatly refreshed.

On another occasion, about eight years ago, here at the home for children in Oaxaca, Mexico, almost all of the staff had come together to help mix concrete and lay the foundation for a new school. Some were shoveling sand. Others putting gravel into buckets. One guy was running the cement mixer while another put buckets of water in. A few of us were laboring with the wheel barrows, taking the concrete where it need to go. After about an hour we were all worn out and extremely thirsty. And then my wife made a very welcomed appearance. She was the kitchen supervisor and she brought us pitchers of lemonade, which we gratefully guzzled. After the refreshment and a short break, we all felt what? REFRESHED! And with new found energy we went back to the task at hand. Physically, we had new strength.

People also need to be refreshed emotionally. Everyday someone suffers a heart ache over the death of a loved one, or heartbreak from a broken relationship. There are dozens of reasons people feel down emotionally, and sometimes God can use us to refresh those who suffer disappointment or depression. We can feel directed to offer a hug, word of encouragement, or a shoulder to cry on. That can refresh a person, even if only temporarily.

People need to be refreshed spiritually as well. There are those who once felt close to God, now feel that he is a long way off, absent, missing in action. They too are suffering, and God can nudge us to offer some spiritual refreshment; perhaps a card with an uplifting verse or a listening ear and a timely prayer.

And, according to Proverbs 11:25, not only will the one we reach out to, be refreshed, but also the one who does the refreshing will be refreshed. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

“Repent and turn to God, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19,20

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;

the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.” Psalm 41:1

David claims in Psalm 41 that those who have regard for the weak will be blessed by God in that he will deliver them in times of trouble (times of weakness?). David goes on to say that the LORD also protects and preserves them. And, if that is not enough, David piles on by by proclaiming that the LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness. That is a whole lot of motivation to “regard the weak.”

That also brings up at least two questions: What does “regard” mean and who are the “weak”?

Regard means to consider or to pay attention to, much like one would regard their children or parents or spouse.

The weak could be anyone. It is all kind of relative. A three year old is weak compared to a five year old. A sick person is weak compared to a healthy person. A Jr. High graduate is weak mentally compared to a Ph.D. student. A homeless person is weak financially compared to a CEO. So at any given point, any of us could be considered weak, or strong, depending on whom we are being compared to.

David is King of Israel, a man of power, prestige and influence, yet reading Psalm 41, he identifies with the weak. He is weak spiritually. In verse 4 he says, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

He is weak physically, mentioning in verse 8 a “vile disease”.

I think he is weak emotionally because a close and trusted friend had turned against him and that betrayal has sapped his strength (vs. 9).

In response to these weakness, he calls out to God to regard his situation and have mercy on him (vs. 10).

Whatever our lot in life, we are all weak spiritually, desperately in need of a Savior; a Helper; a Rescuer. God graciously regards our situation and condescends to intervene and lift us up. Make us stronger. Our response should naturally be to look around us and see the weak; consider the weak; help the weak.

We should also remember, like Paul, that we can boast in our weaknesses because that’s when God’s power most rests on us.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

considerate – showing kindly awareness or regard for another’s feelings, circumstances or wishes.

I was studying 1 Peter last month, and there is one phrase from that letter that keeps coming back to me – “Be considerate.”

That is not a word that we use a lot anymore. It is not a concept that we devote much thought too. That’s too bad. The world could use more considerate people.

The Bible doesn’t use that word too much either, although the concept is found throughout the New Testament in verses like:

“Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

“In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you.” (Matthew 7:12)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

Those at the top of the list that we should be considerate of and considerate to, are those in our family, both biological and spiritual. Our spouses should be the first person to whom we are considerate, but, unfortunately, they are too often taken for granted and wind up on the bottom rung of the considerate ladder.

This should not be, and that seems to be the way Peter felt about it as well. When he wrote “be considerate” he was addressing husbands and how they are to treat their wives. Specifically he says, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect…” (1 Peter 3:7)

I have read 1 Peter dozens of times and I don’t ever remember him saying this, but this last time it stuck. Maybe God is trying to tell me something! I think about it often, and guess what? I have been more considerate to my wife. I see dirty dishes in the sink, and I think, “What would be the considerate thing to do?” Wash the dishes! And I do. I make coffee in the morning and consider whether or not my wife would like a cup. I ask her and she tells me that she would enjoy a cup of coffee with cream and sugar, thank you very much. I am walking down the street in Tlacolula, Mexico, running errands, and I see a flower vender. I consider my wife, and the next think you know, I am putting a dozen roses in the car.

These are just a few, small examples, but maybe, if we all were a bit more considerate of others, and did a couple extra considerate things everyday, the world would be a happier place. After all, God wants us to be happy and considers our needs, wants and wishes, and blesses us beyond all measure, so let us bless others (especially our spouses) by being considerate.

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you. Therefore do not be anxious about anything.” Matthew 6:28-31

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