Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Pushing through adversity”
Our Bible verse for today: “I am sending him – who is my very heart – back to you … If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” Philemon 12; 18 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Take time to help the one who is messed up.”
Onesimus was in big trouble. He was a slave who belonged to Philemon. At some point he evidently stole some valuables from his master and then ran away. Back in the days of the Romans that was a hanging offense. Once captured the runaway slave would be beaten, imprisoned, and maybe executed.
Somehow Onesimus’ wanderings took him to the city of Rome and into the company of the Apostle Paul. In short order Onesimus placed his faith in Christ, and Paul convinced him that he had to return to Philemon and make things right. Fortunately for Onesimus, Paul knew Philemon. It turns out that Philemon was also a Christian. He had evidently been won to faith by Paul and was now serving as a leader in the church in Colossae.
So Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon, letter in hand, and Onesimus placed himself at the mercy of Philemon. The entire thrust of this letter (which became one of the books of the New Testament) was that Philemon should now welcome Onesimus back but not as a returned slave, instead as a brother in Christ. Paul’s message to Philemon was “I am sending this man back to you but he is now your brother in Christ, so welcome him home with love and joy.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us how it all turned out but I think we can safely assume that Philemon did the right thing and welcomed Onesimus back. And I think we can also assume that Onesimus probably became the best and most trusted servant in the household of Philemon.
I think an important lesson we can draw from this short story is that at some point we all mess up (finding ourselves in deep doo-doo), and we all need forgiveness and help. Paul didn’t hesitate to welcome the runaway slave and help him to get his life on track. The assumption is that Philemon did the same. Through it all, the life of a young man was redeemed and Christ was honored. That’s the way these stories should turn out.
Today is Friday. Sunday is coming. When you gather with your church family there are going to be people there in the proverbial doo-doo times of life. They need to be blessed and helped. Will you be a Paul or Philemon to that person? Will you help them get right with God and with others?
What goes around comes around. If you’re not the one knee-deep in that stuff right now, you certainly have been in the past and probably will be in the future. The other folks need love and forgiveness and assistance from you now. Sometime in the future you will probably need the same from them. This is what Christians do for each other. This is how we get through times of adversity – especially when those times are of our own making.