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When you are refreshing, you are blessing.

“Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
- Proverbs 11:25


In the last several years, there has been a disease outbreak throughout the world that could be the most deadly disease known to man. Experts say that it has the potential to wreak havoc on 100% of the world’s population. Are you familiar with the VDP disease? The Centers for Disease Control has issued warnings on the devastating affects that this disease could cause the human race. 
VDP stands for the “Very Draining Person” disease. It is detected by someone being habitually negative and sucking the life out of others. Unfortunately, once infected with VDP, you don’t see the symptoms, because you never see VDP in the mirror. However, others can quickly spot it from miles away.
People with VDP disease will take chunks of flesh out of you every time you encounter them. They criticize, complain, whine, make excuses and find faults. Their words are laced with destruction, and they spew their poison on anyone who dares to listen. Their goal is pull you down to their level of misery. The people infected lurk in neighborhoods, sports teams, churches and families—basically everywhere you find people. When they walk in the room, you run, because they are backing up the truck and getting ready to dump on you.
The good news is there is a treatment for VDP disease called, “VRP.” Large doses of VRP are needed to prevent VDP. Those with VRP are rare and very hard to come by, but every once in a while, you can spot one because they bring healing and relief. When a VRP is around, you feel like a million bucks. They just have a way of making you feel special.
What is a VRP? It is a “Very Refreshing Person.” These people breathe life into the ordinary and transform it. As lifters, they have an ability to bless others and bring words of encouragement.
I have several friends who are VRPs. Every time I talk with them, I feel like I have a red cape on my back and a big “S” on my chest. They make me feel like Superman because they speak words of life into me—words drenched in hope. They aren’t just “make you feel good” words, but “we believe in you” words. What a difference! They see God’s greatness in me. They inspire me. Their encouragement isn’t fake; it is powerful, purpose-filled edification.
In the Bible, Onesiphorus was a VRP. He brought hope and healing. He’s only mentioned twice in the Bible, both times in 2 Timothy. Obviously, he’s not a popular Bible character, but he was well-known to the apostle Paul because of the encouragement he delivered. In fact, his name actually means “to bring help or profit-bearing.”

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me.
-2 Timothy 1:16-17 (HCSB)

Everybody needs VRPs, and Onesiphorus was one of Paul’s main VRPs. Paul was beaten down by VDPs, and some were his friends. He received the 360-degree pounding often because when he made a stand for the Truth, an attack would always come.  It still does for us today.
From Onesiphorus example, we learn three key characteristics of a VRP:

  1. Refreshment is repeated.
    Paul writes, “he often refreshed me”. This was not a one and done refreshing, but Onesiphorus poured out encouragement time and time again. The word refreshed literally means, “to brace up or revive by fresh air.” I don’t think you can over-refresh others. Nobody has ever said to a VRP like Onesiphorus, “I am already full of encouragement today. You can take your refreshing elsewhere and find someone else to bless!” Onesiphorus made a habit out of refreshing. When Onesiphorus arrived at the jail, Paul probably pumped his hands into the air and screamed, “Yes! Thank God. He is here again!” Even the great Apostle Paul needed some refreshing. Refreshing needs to be regular and repeated.
  2. Refreshment is risky.
    Paul says that Onesiphorus “was not ashamed of my chains”. He was willing to associate himself with Paul’s sufferings in prison. During one of Paul’s darkest hours in a Roman prison, Onesiphorus showed up. As a former slave, Onesiphorus risked his life by going into prison to refresh a prisoner. Many of Paul’s friends were not willing to do what he did. Just like Onesiphorus, we need to step out of our comfort zone to refresh others! Refreshing is often messy. Onesiphorus was like a breath of fresh air to Paul and brought encouragement, hope and transformation. But it took Onesiphorus taking a risk to stand with a friend in difficult circumstances.
  3. Refreshment is relentless.
    Onesiphorus “diligently searched” for Paul.  He was relentless to find his friend, and he did not stop until he “found him.”  Onesiphorus did whatever it took to bring a big dose of refreshment to Paul. VRPs are persistent and tenacious.

We need to fill the world with refreshing words and start motivating, encouraging and inspiring through building up, not tearing down. We should set the standard. Everywhere you turn, there should be examples of refreshing, building and bringing life into every aspect of life – pouring out love to others.
The question is – RUAVRP (Are you a Very Refreshing Person?). The challenge is not whether you have VRPs in your life, but are you one? Do you bring life to people? When you walk into the room, do people run or do they pump their fists into the air? Your words can unlock God’s greatness in others. You need to be committed to infusing life into others through your intentional words of nourishment. Let people feast off your encouragement.
Refresh Others,

Take Action:

  1. Who do you know who is a Very Refreshing Person? How about a Very Draining Person?
  2. If we interviewed your friends, which would your friends say you are? Why?
  3. What are some specific ways that you can develop a ministry of refreshment?
  4. Why are VRPs so needed in our world? Give examples of how VRPs can transform lives.
  5. Do you see God’s greatness in others? How can that perspective change your relationships?


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