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Something to Think About

Daily Reading: Philemon 1

Scripture Focus: I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. (Philemon 1.4-6)

Devotional Thought: Paul wrote the book of Philemon to ensure a sympathetic response from the book's namesake when his slave Onesimus returned. The institution of slavery was under attack in the very earliest days of Christianity! That the Church led the way in human rights is evidenced by the fact that Paul was able to convince Onesimus to return. You may wonder, though, how Onesimus felt about this. He was a criminal liable to capital punishment. As a slave, Onesimus was completely at the mercy of Philemon, without legal recourse. How did Paul talk him into returning?

Somehow, Paul must have persuaded him that Philemon would not punish him excessively. Why would Paul believe that? Why would he believe it so strongly that he would be able to convince Onesimus?

Though we are not told, I imagine that Philemon came to know the Lord after Onesimus escaped, and that he had become a changed man. A once cruel slave-driver had become a compassionate Christ-follower. So great was the change in Philemon’s life that Paul wrote: “Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say” (v. 21). Perhaps Paul was exerting a little social pressure on Philemon, but the fact remains that he risked sending Onesimus back to him before Philemon could agree to Paul’s terms. Paul had heard about the love Philemon had toward all the saints, including slaves!

Two questions to ponder today:

  1. How confident are others in my faith? Does my faith elicit behaviors that warrant confidence?

  2. Am I confident in my brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I believe in them as Paul believed in Philemon?

Something to think about.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to live out my faith in such a way that people may have confidence in me to do the right thing. Also, help me to exhibit confidence in my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 137 Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. 138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. 140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. 143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. 144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. (Psalms 119:137-144)

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