Philemon 1:13-14 (ESV)
13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,
14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.
Today is recognized as the day to honor Onesimus. He is a convert of Paul, the subject of Paul’s letter to Philemon, and according to history, the Pastor of Ephesus after Timothy. The two verses above, point out something so wonderful about all involved.
Paul mentions doing, not by compulsion, or necessity, but by consent. The topic struck me so strongly, as you can see it in all three men’s lives. While God got Paul’s attention on the way to Damascus, Paul wholeheartedly chose to follow God with all his heart. Onesimus chose to carry the epistle back to Philemon, not knowing the outcome ahead of time.
The last of the three, Philemon was presented with a choice. Punish the slave, or embrace the brother. While we don’t have record in Scripture of the choice he made, I believe he made the right one. History indicates Philemon was also martyred, as Paul and Onesimus. I believe a man who would give his life for the cause of Christ, would embrace the brother returned to him.
We all have a choice as a Christian, beyond salvation. When you choose to follow Jesus, we are choosing life over death, salvation, and eternal hope. When we choose to follow him wholeheartedly, we are embracing not only our destiny, but an adventure as you can only experience in God.
We don’t just have a hope, we have a lively hope. So today, I would encourage you, to consent to committing passionately to The God we serve. Knowing that a life totally committed to The Lord Jesus, is a life fully lived!