Scripture reading for June 11th: Philemon
Key Scriptures: Philemon 8-14 “Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you–I. Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus–I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the Gospel but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.”
Paul was not into authoritarian leadership. He was a servant leader who acted in respect towards others in the Church. He had the opportunity while in jail in Rome to lead Onesimus, Philemon’s run-away slave, to Christ. Under Roman law, slaves who ran away could be put to death. But Paul appealed to Philemon to treat him now as a brother in Christ. As a run-away slave, Onesimus would have not been at all profitable to Philemon, but now as a brother, he would serve him as a brother and was also valuable in the Church as a member of Christ’s body. Paul could have ordered the proper treatment, but he knew that allowing Philemon to choose freely to do the right thing was by far the best for all involved.
Philemon 15-16 “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother--especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.“
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this amazing story of a run-away slave who was saved and restored to his master. Thank You that we are all like this slave, running from You. Thank You that You received us back and made us profitable again! Help me to never forget! Give me opportunity to share Your great mercy today!
1st Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”