Chains Worth Wearing
2 Timothy 1:16
The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

Here was Paul, in that large, grand company of men who, in all the ages, have been the victims of great ideals, of noble inspirations, of truth, of virtuous impulses, of high and generous purposes that reach out and beyond him; and there were a thousand men of all sorts coming against Paul's life, who appreciated his nobility, his gifts, his eloquence, his scholarship, his Judaism; and they saw nothing else in Paul or upon Paul but his chain, and then they walked away half ashamed and so sorry that so good a man as Paul had to wear a chain. There never was such jewellery in all the ages as that chain of Paul's. Never did any goldsmith melt together the rarest pieces from the mines and put them in such delicate and. beauteous relationships with one another, as did the Providence of God, when, through countless years and by various circumstances, the prophecies worked out that chain for Paul. Here is a mother, and if she is really a mother she is far more certainly chained than the woman by her side who tosses her little head, for such heads are always small, and has no thought of responsibilities and cares; no thought about those relationships of life which ought to be the most sacred in the world. Here is a young man who has started out to make himself intelligent. He has only a few hours in which to do it. He takes those hours and by all the severe exactions of his noble spirit he is bound so to that ideal that he cannot do this, and he has not an evening for that, and he hurries to his work a chained man, but oh, how grand! Here is a girl who thinks, perhaps, that tomorrow she will begin to sew again, wearily but happily, chained to her work, because yonder in some lowly place in this city her mother is working and waiting, prayerfully doing what she can, for death to take her. But this brave girl is carrying that aged mother upon those weary arms as once the mother carried her, chained, but not with a chain bought at a jewellery store. She has not the kind of jewellery upon her that sparkles upon you at the great reception. No, her jewellery is made by Almighty God; it was mined in the vast secrets of goodness; it was brought out by the heat and fire of that eager life; and God has given her this chain as the mark that she belongs to that grand race of aristocrats. And I care not whether that girl lives in a garret, or lives in a mansion, she belongs to the aristocracy of heaven. In what contrast to these chains appear the chains that have rattled as you came here, my friend; for there are other chains of the most coarse and ignoble kind that bind us. Here is a man who comes and feels, when he sees the picture of that young man earnestly trying to become intelligent, that he is ignorant, and he never knows how much of a chain there is attaching itself to him. Other people do. His smartnesses are simply exhibits of his chain; every time he tries to perpetrate a joke the chain rattles and people see how bound he is to utter ignorance. Here are men and women bound by chains of selfishness. To save your life you cannot conceive of a noble inspiration, The other day, when somebody told you of some one giving some money to a great cause, you sneeringly measured your own soul when you thought you were measuring his, and you said: "Well, he wanted to be advertised!" You know that is the way you would feel under the circumstances. Your chain rattled, and it rattled so awfully that those who were round about you saw the awful depths of selfishness into which you were about to fall. Here are men who are chained by habit. To save your life, you can't get home without feeling the pulling of a chain which you would rather break than to accomplish anything else in the world. But how different are these chains from the ones which Paul wore, as he stood there in the face of Israel and the whole world! That chain was rattling when he spoke, and he uttered that word with such eloquence that it has resounded through the centuries. "For the hope of Israel," he said, "I am bound with this chain. Other men have been bound to the past; I am bound to the future. Other men have been bound to iniquity; I am bound to righteousness. Other men have been bound to low ideals; I am bound to lofty ideals. Other men are in slavery, abject slavery, to those carnal purposes of life that debase; I am in slavery which is sublime, to the true and lofty ideals that exalt. For the hope of Israel, I am bound with that chain."

(F. W. Gunsaulus, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

WEB: May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain,

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