Philemon - A Mature Disciple and Still Growing
Philemon was a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. In his letter to Philemon, Paul speaks of Philemon’s great love that refreshed Paul and the Lord’s people.
There are times in our Christian lives when we know we’ve made good progress in our Christian lives and grown to new depths of maturity.
He was a fellow worker. He had a house church meeting in his home which he no doubt led. His character and his ministry were those of a mature disciple.
Then, Philemon’s world was shaken by the reappearance of his runaway slave, Onesimus, sent back to him by Paul. Onesimus brought a letter from Paul pleading with Philemon to take Onesimus back without penalty, not as a slave but welcoming him as a dear brother.
For Philemon to agree with Paul’s request would cost him. It would cost his pride. It would cost him financially. In the culture of the times, it would cost him status and respect from his circle of well-off acquaintances. This unexpected request would have stretched Philemon’s discipleship to new depths.
There are times in our Christian lives when we know we’ve made good progress in our Christian lives and grown to new depths of maturity. And then a whole new challenge emerges that stretches us to new levels of following Jesus. It may relate to forgiving a deep hurt or changing a deeply entrenched pattern of behaviour or a long-held attitude to certain others. Or it may be a change in life-circumstances – financial loss, interpersonal conflict or health issues.
In 2024, let’s commit ourselves to growing as a follower of Jesus, wherever that takes us, and to discipling others to do the same.