The short letter to Philemon, to me, is like a postscript, from Paul, in the New Testament.
It is, in its simplest explanation, an appeal from Paul to his friend, Philemon, encouraging reconciliation between Philemon and his slave, Onesimus. In the middle of the letter, it’s safe to say that Paul even suggests to Philemon that he liberate and free Onesimus, once the two are reconciled.
Both Philemon and Paul were well-traveled men.
Philemon probably lived in Colossae. In Colossians 4, we find a reference to Onesimus, and that he lived in the city. If both of these names refer to the same person, then we logically get an idea that Onesimus and Philemon both lived in Colossae.
Yet Paul, according to the narrative in the New Testament, never visited Colossae, nor did he plant a church there. That means that somewhere, along the way, the two men met, and became friends. I always found that bit of information fascinating. There was an entire network of believers, crossing the Roman Empire. It just stands to reason that many would meet and begin lifelong relationships.
In this postscript sort of letter, then, there is just one thing that is so apparent to me.
And it is the only way we can really find our true identity. Here it is.
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (v. 6; NIV84)
We only share our passions. We rarely share our secrets.
This small verse, in a letter otherwise known for reconciliation, became so real to me today. Actively sharing our testimony is what gives us a full understanding of our blessings in Jesus.
Again, the Word of God has just blown my mind.
Once we begin to share how grace enraptured us, we are compelled to share it. And we share it because we have been enraptured by grace. It becomes our passion.
I do not write this to bring guilt to anyone. I do not believe that guilt or attendance or loss of funds should ever compel us to share our faith, and bring people back to our worship gatherings.
But this small verse speaks to the heart of what really motivates us.. It speaks to the very heart of what we hold most sacred in our lives. What we publicly share and what we publicly display are what we believe truly makes our lives worth living. And, to be honest, it may not be how grace reached us.
Look again at the verse, though. Sharing our testimony is not a one-time event. It’s an active expression. It’s a constant expression.
It is all we live for.
Nor is it to “win people for the Lord.” It is about the transformation that happens to us when we share it. We start to own it, to appreciate it, to live like it’s for read. Our testimony doesn’t have the power to convict people, anyway. Only the spirit of God has that ability.
So here’s my quick thought. Once we realize the enormous, overwhelming blessing of grace, WE WILL NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE.
There. I said it.
Thanks for reading today.
This is day 72 in a 90-day reading of the New Testament. By the grace of God, I’ve written something here, on my site, for each of these days. You can find all of those posts here. Blessings today.