Sunday, March 29, 2020

In their own words: Day 33

Philemon 10-17

I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.

The very brief letter to Philemon, just 21 verses long, concerns a slave, Onesimus, (whose name means “useful”) who’s run away from Philemon. He’s found his way to Paul, who is in prison. He can’t stay with Paul though, so Paul appeals to Philemon to take him back, “not as a slave but as a beloved brother.” Paul challenges the slave-owning culture of the ancient world. In God’s kingdom, all should be free.

What do you think Philemon might have done in response to Paul's appeal? 
Slavery can come in many forms. What does slavery look like today? Check out to find out.

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