June 22, 2021
Scripture: For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you… So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. Philemon 1:7, 17-18 ESV
Observations: On behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave who was now serving Paul under house arrest in Rome, Paul informs Philemon he is sending Onesimus back to him with the request to emancipate Onesimus because they are fellow brothers in Christ. Paul’s appeal is spurred by love in action. Love leads Paul to thanksgiving and prayer for Philemon (v4), to seek the welfare of Onesimus (v10), to deal honestly with Philemon—returning his slave to him (v12), and to bear the burden of Onisemus’ debts.
Takeaway: The letter beautifully portrays Christ’s love in action for us. He petitioned the Father in prayer for us (John 17:20-21), he sought our welfare and dealt honestly with the ransom for our sins (Luke 23:24), and he bore the burden of our debts to set us free (1 Peter 2:24). And as Jesus’ followers, love in action is our life mission, too.
Prayer: Father God, please grant us the courage to sacrificially love others and seek their welfare over our interests and desires.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling