I received an e-mail asking if I would spend some time with an ailing pastor. The writer said, “Even pastors need to be ministered to.”

She is right. Everybody needs the encouragement of a friend. Even the courageous and deeply spiritual apostle Paul drew on the support of friends as he languished in a dungeon awaiting execution. This is evident from his desire that the Lord extend special mercy to the family of a friend named Onesiphorus (2 Tim. 1:16).

This man had gone to great lengths to find Paul, who was imprisoned in Rome. His visits to the apostle were a great encouragement. Paul expressed his gratitude for Onesiphorus, and he wrote, “The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day” (v.18). Since all believers will receive mercy when they stand before Christ, I believe Paul meant that God will give special recognition to those who have shown special kindness to His servants.

Many people are looking for a little encouragement from a Christian friend. A pleasant greeting, a verse from the Bible, or a simple prayer can do wonders. Onesiphorus was a special friend because he showed special kindness. Let’s follow his example.