每日诗歌: 愛我願意 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUyL3wgHLPM)
Jeremiah 36 [Read]
Jeremiah 37 [Read]
Since I was a seeker, I have always loved Paul’s letter to Philemon. I thought Paul was really smooth in asking people to do things they were reluctant to do, and his communication skill was superb in this short letter. Not until later on I began to realize the spiritual dimension, specifically about faith and love (Phlm 5), displayed by this faithful servant of God.
“Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good” (15). Faith means to trust God’s providence even when bad things happen to us, and we believe that it’s a matter of time before we see the purpose of them. Without escaping from Philemon, Onesimus would not have met Paul and would not have become a brother in the Lord to his previous master. Having a slave is in no comparison to gaining a brother in Christ. With that kind of trust in mind, a person of faith can then be submissive (21), knowing all things happen for his and other people’s benefit (11).
“Yet I appeal to you on the basis of love” (9). Paul is also writing this letter for the sake of love, the love he has for Onesimus so he is willing to appeal to Philemon for forgiveness, the love he has for Philemon so he is encouraging him to do the godly thing and forgive his fugitive slave and new brother, and, ultimately, the love he has for God so he is exhorting God’s people to reconcile with each other in order to show how Christians are different from this world. “(Onesimus) is my very heart” (12), and I have no doubt that such moving statement is also applicable to Philemon in Paul’s mind.
But at the end, the letter to Philemon is about transformation. The name Onesimus means useful, and Paul is using such name to point out an eternal truth. “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me” (11). In some way, we are all like Onesimus and we all need to be transformed. Formerly, we were all useless to God, but the transformation by the Holy Spirit makes us useful to others and to God. May we all recognize such spiritual truth and be transformed to a useful instrument for our Lord.
Keep on reading, you have finished the 41st book.