02 July 2011

Reading: Isaiah 6-7; 2 Chronicles 26-27; Philemon


10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. 11 Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. 12 I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart. (Philemon 10-12 NLT)

Paul loved the Colossian church and had many good friends there. They helped him in his travels and helped provide some support for him in his Roman imprisonment. A slave named Onesimus (whose name means “Useful”) ran away from his master Philemon, a wealthy man whose home served as meeting place and base of operations for the Colossian church. The fugitive, Onesimus, eventually made his way to Rome at the very time Paul and Epaphras, the founder of the Colossian church, were in prison there awaiting trial.

Somehow Onesimus found Paul (or more likely Epaphras) in prison in Rome and they led him to faith in Christ. Now Paul was sending Onesimus back to his owner and master Philemon in Colosse bearing this letter asking forgiveness and seeking reconciliation between the two men. What a story!

The things that speak to me today from this great story are:
• It’s a small world. God has amazing ways of connecting people across great distances.
• In Christ, there is neither slave nor master, Jew nor Greek, male nor female, rich nor poor. In the world we live in, those things have to be worked out with openness and honesty and love.
• Paul was a good-hearted man who, even when in difficult circumstances himself, saw value in a runaway slave, led him to faith in Christ, and used his influence to get him a second chance in life.
• Even though runaway Onesimus had become a Christ-follower and his sins were forgiven, he still had to make things right and reconcile with Philemon.


Father, Please help me to be a good-hearted man who sees value in everyone. I want to use my influence to help people reconcile, to help balance the equation, and to make things right. May I be an instrument of your peace. Amen.

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