eart At A Time
October 21, 2011
Read: Philemon 1:12-22
. . . no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother. —Philemon 1:16
Quaker John Woolman was an itinerant preacher who waged his own personal campaign to end slavery in colonial America. Woolman met with slave-holders to speak of the injustice of holding other human beings as property. Although Woolman did not eradicate slavery completely, he did persuade many masters to free their slaves. His success was due to individual, personal persuasion.
The book of Philemon contains a similar one-on-one appeal. Onesimus was a runaway slave who had escaped from his Christian master Philemon. Onesimus had come to faith through Paul’s ministry, and now Paul was sending him back to Philemon with these words: “Perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother” (vv.15-16). Although we don’t know if Onesimus was set free from slavery, his new faith in Jesus had changed his relationship with his Christian master. He was now also a brother in Christ. Paul was influencing his world one heart at a time.
By the transforming power of the gospel, people and situations can change. Like Woolman and like Paul, let’s seek to influence our world one heart at a time.
If I can help some wounded heart,
If I can by my love impart
Some blessing that will help more now—
Lord, just show me how. —Brandt
The kindest thing you can do for another is to show him the truth.