"I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me." Philemon 1:11
Onesimus was a runaway slave. Not much is known about how and why this situation came to be, however it is known that he somehow came into contact with Paul. Paul often refers to himself as a slave but a slave (or bondservant) to Christ. In fact, at this time, he was literally imprisoned. These are not the only two things these men shared in common. As he was introduced to the gospel on the Damascus road through an experience with the resurrected Savior, Paul, in turn, shared the gospel with Onesimus. As Paul was obedient, so was Onesimus. As Paul's life was completely changed, the same could be said for his new "son" in the faith.
Beloved, the fact that Onesimus ran away from his responsibilities and obligations indicates he was useless to his master. Though slavery was part of the culture of that time and geography, we can easily make application to ourselves and how we may have handled some of our own responsibilities in the past. By sharing the gospel with Onesimus and his acceptance of it, he became very useful to literally all of mankind. Before, he thought only of himself. Now he willingly became a servant. Before he shirked his duties. Now he was ready to work. Before, he ran away. Now he is going back home to make right what was wrong.
Christ makes all of the difference in this world and the next in the life of the believer. Let us remember that Jesus came for a purpose and that purpose was to give us a purpose. Now that we have been made useful in the sight of the Lord, let us apply ourselves to servanthood to man through servanthood to him.
Rejoicing in the Lord,
P.S. Apologies for my absence last week. I neglected to inform you that I would be traveling to Puerto Rico on business (and a little pleasure). God's grace has safely returned my daughter and me home.