Today’s Bible reading is Ruth 1 and Philemon.
At just 25 verses, The Letter of Paul to Philemon is one of the shortest books in the Bible, but it’s full of valuable things to think about. Consider just one tidbit at the beginning of this new week.
In Philemon 7, Paul (“a prisoner for Christ Jesus”) writes to Philemon (“our beloved fellow worker”):
I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 7)
Hearts refreshed. Philemon, an ordinary man, had been a source of real refreshment in the hearts of others. How? LOVE. Demonstrations of love. Speaking with love. Serving with love. Welcoming with love. Forgiving with love. “I hear of your love,” Paul writes in Philemon 5, “and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints.”
It’s not hard to connect those dots. Faith in the Lord Jesus plus demonstrations of love had led to much joy and comfort, resulting in the refreshment of hearts. Now, Paul’s appeal in this letter? “Refresh my heart in Christ” (Philemon 20). It would require humility, sacrifice, and forgiveness, but Philemon could continue to be a source of refreshment for the heart by embodying the love and grace of Jesus.
A new week, new opportunities, new challenges, new potentials are stretched out before us. In whose heart could you be a source of refreshment? Who could derive much joy and comfort as a result of your love and the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus? The gospel changes everything. May it continue to change, inspire, and empower us this week.