I have known people who were just the opposite. Rather than being refreshing like a cool breeze on a hot day they are like one of those blazing hot days that just saps your strength and makes you feel weary. Encounters with them are endured, not enjoyed or welcomed. I can think of a couple of people I have known who have that rare ability to always bring discouragement to any situation. They always have something negative to say. I typically come away a little depressed from those conversations. I have a feeling Philemon was not anything like that.
Perhaps the best way to think about how we can “refresh” the hearts of others is to ask how others have encouraged us. One way people have encouraged my heart is by just caring what happens in my life and listening to me. I have been greatly encouraged by people who know that I have some task to do and without even being asked step in to help. I have been mightily strengthened by people who go out of their way to let me know I matter to them and they care about me, perhaps through a note or a phone call. I am continually refreshed by people who give grace to me when my flaws and weaknesses are manifested. I find myself encouraged by people who have hope, who believe there is reason to be joyful and thankful in every situation because God is with them.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all became the kind of people who refreshed others? If we were people who intentionally sought to bring hope and encouragement to other people, if we always made the effort to make them feel loved and to feel like someone in this world cared about them. I would love it if at the end of my days people would remember me as someone who always “refreshed the hearts of the saints.”