Daily Thoughts : May 13th
Philem 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
Philemon is a friend of Paul's, but he has lost a slave – and Paul has found him. That is the gist of this short letter. Paul needs to raise the subject of his runaway slave with him but he wants to do it once he has re-established his relationship with Philemon. He has a favour to ask but first he has to draw the two of them together. He does this by letting Philemon know what he thinks of him. (Note that Paul never falsely ‘pats people on the back' – he is always honest and so this is genuine praise!)
Philemon has been a source of joy and encouragement to Paul as he has watched his spiritual journey. Paul has watched this man grow into spiritual leadership and from that position Philemon has been a real blessing to the church. He has refreshed the saints, the church, the people of God, by the way he has ministered God's love in faith to them. He has been a real blessing to the church – and to Paul. As Paul has watched him ministering to others, it has caused there to be a joy in him as the love of God is shared. But it has also encouraged Paul, for Philemon is part of the fruit of his ministry and it is encouraging to see this level of maturity coming about in one to whom we have given much.
So how about you and me? What would people be able to say about us? Do our lives convey the love of God to others so we bring joy and encouragement? Are there those who could say of you or me, "You have given me great joy and encouragement"? Could they say of us, "You have refreshed my heart"? All of this speaks about relationships we may have with other people, and the things we say or do for them. Are we truly a blessing one to another? May it be so!
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