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The Positive Few

Published on July 31, 2017

by Dan Britton

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus,

because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
-2 Timothy 1:16


The Positive FewThey are rare and very hard to come by, but every once in a while, you can spot one. There aren’t too many in schools, offices, locker rooms or homes, but, once they are identified, they stick out BIG TIME! The Positive Few just have a way of making you feel special. They are the ones who bring refreshment and encouragement by breathing life into the ordinary and transform it. As lifters, they have an ability to bless others and bring words of life.

They make others feel like Superman because they speak words of life into others—words drenched in hope, not words of death. They aren’t just “make you feel good” words, but “we believe in you” words. What a difference! They see God’s greatness in others. They inspire others. Their encouragement isn’t fake (which can be sniffed out miles away), but is powerful, purpose-filled edification.

Unfortunately, the Negative Multitude are everywhere—a dime a dozen. They take chunks of flesh out of you every time you encounter them and drain the life out of you. They criticize, complain, whine, make excuses and find faults. That is their natural style of communication. Negative, negative, negative is their approach. And there is no relief for them (or you). 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. They don’t have a “glass is half empty” mentality; they have a “glass is completely empty” mentality. They lurk in neighborhoods, teams, churches and families—basically everywhere you find people. When they walk in the room, you run because they are backing up the truck, getting ready to dump on you. 

In the Bible, Onesiphorus was one of the Positive Few. 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.” He did exactly that! 

Onesiphorus was one of Paul’s main encouragers. During one of Paul’s darkest hours in a Roman prison, Onesiphorus risked his life to find Paul and bring refreshment to him. In the passage, the word “refreshed” means “to cool again.” Onesiphorus was like a breath of fresh air who breathed life into Paul and brought encouragement, hope and transformation. I love that the verse says “often refreshed.” Onesiphorus made a habit out of refreshing others. When Onesiphorus arrived at the jail, Paul probably pumped his hands into the air and screamed, “Yes!” Even the great Apostle Paul needed some good refreshing. 

I have meet many “Onesiphorus” around the world serving faithfully in tough situations. When I go and minister with them in their country, they are refreshing everyone around them and bringing value despite their circumstances. They have motivated me to part of the Positive Few not the Negative Multitude

The question is – are you one of the Positive Few? Do you bring life to people? When you walk into the room, do people run or do they pump their hands 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.


Father, I want to be refreshed by You and used to pour out Your goodness to others. I want to be a lifter—a refresher. Help me to be one of the Positive Few. Too often I get focused on myself and do not see the opportunities to bless others with words and actions. Show me how I need to minister to those with whom I interact. In Jesus’ name, amen.