In This Life…

I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted on here. Sorry about that. Things have been very busy lately.

Anyway, I’ve often noticed how tied up we seem to be with “fairness.” We all want to enjoy good health, reasonable success, and comfortable living. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting those things, we need to realize that they just might not happen for us.

TV evangelists are often known for proclaiming “health and wealth”-type gospels: “Send me money, and God will bless you with good health and heavy pockets!” Those kinds of promises sound great, but in actuality, they’re frivolous and superficial. God’s never promised us those kinds of blessings in this life.

Have you ever looked at what the Bible taught about servitude (or slavery)? It’s kind of interesting. The book of Philemon was written by Paul to a Christian named Philemon, and the subject of the book is a Christian named Onesimus. Onesimus had been Philemon’s slave, but had run away. After spending some time with him, Paul decides to send Onesimus back to Philemon. Notice what he writes here in verses 10-16:

10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me.
12 I am sending him back.[e] You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. 14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary.
15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

Paul pleads with Philemon to accept Onesimus back as more than just a slave — as a brother in Christ. Today, we would assume that Paul would condemn the practice of slavery here and demand that Philemon release Onesimus from his status of slave. But I’m not too sure that Paul’s asking that.

In Ephesians 6, Paul takes on the subject of servants and masters again. If you’ll notice, in verses 5-9, he’s addressing Christians who fill both roles. Instead of telling the servants to fight for their freedom, he tells them to serve their masters as though they were serving the Lord. And instead of telling the masters to release their slaves, he tells them to treat them well.

Now, I am in no way advocating the idea of slavery, nor do I really think the Bible does. Instead, I think it’s teaching us to be our very best, no matter what life has dealt us. In the end, we each give an account before God, whether we were kings or garbage collectors. No matter what station we fill in life, we are all expected to do our best to serve God. From the Parable of the Talents we see that each of us has different abilities. Regardless of what they are, God expects us to use them.

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1 thought on “In This Life…”

  1. Nate,
    Great thoughts, I completely agree with you 🙂
    I think you were right on with your comment that regardless of where or who we are, we must do our best. I would clarify that further by saying we are to do what glorifies God best it whatever situation we are in.

    Verse 16 is the heart of the message: “no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” What a fantastic statement of truth.

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