Text: Philemon; Psalm 85
In his short letter to Philemon, a slave owner and a Christian, Paul shows us some great concepts. It seems Onesimus, a slave, has stolen from his master, Philemon, and run away. But Onesimus has received Jesus, been made new, and is now a brother in Christ. One great lesson is that Onesimus can now actually be trusted, because with Jesus it is actually possible for “a leopard’s spots to be changed!” When we are set fee from slavery to sin by the blood of Jesus and instead are ruled by Jesus the course of our lives is forever new and different. In Jesus, Onesimus, you and I are all new (2 Corinthians 5:17). We ought to remember that when we encounter folks with a checkered past who join us as part of the Body of Christ. We can and should expect them to be different than they were.
One verse that grabs me is in Paul’s address to Philemon (verse 7);
“For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
What a wonderful thought – that you and I could have the effect on others that their hearts would be “refreshed.” I think of that tall glass of lemonade, or a cool breeze at the end of a hot day. I am challenged as I consider this. Am I the sort of brother in Christ that, when people of faith encounter me, they come away refreshed? Or do they come away drained, discouraged or dismayed? Oh, that we might all seek to be, with the Lord’s help, refreshers of the hearts we touch.
in Him, Mike