Day 11

Philemon’s Love and Faith

from the Colossians and Philemon reading plan


Philemon 1:1-7, Psalm 23:1-6, Philippians 1:3-11

BY Tameshia Williams

Reading Paul’s epistles can make me nostalgic for the days of hand-written letters. A child of the nineties, I’m old enough to remember the time before email and other electronic communications, when snail mail was just mail. The memory doesn’t fade: the sound of my pen scratching against my notepad as an adolescent me inked a letter to a friend or a relative. There was something personal about licking the envelope (even though Mom said to use a sponge) and the gross (but secretly liked) aftertaste, then dropping it off in the mailbox. 

In addition to writing to the church at Colossae, Paul also sent a letter to his friend, Philemon, who lived in Colossae, on behalf of another friend, Onesimus. Paul penned both letters during his house arrest in Rome. In the opening verses from Philemon, we’re given a picture of who we are to be to one another, and what active involvement in the Church really looks like. We also discover that Philemon was actively involved in the Christian community in Colossae, hosting church gatherings at his house (Philemon 1:2). 

Paul tells us Philemon was a source of “great joy and encouragement” because of his service among the Colossian believers, causing “the hearts of the saints [to be] refreshed through [him]” (v.7). It seems Philemon was more than a friend to Paul—he was a brother in the faith (v.7). 

Because of the gospel, we, too, are deeply connected to each other; we are a faith family, yet ours is more dynamic than distant relatives who only see each occasionally or even a close-knit family. God intends for us to be fully present in our relationships with the believers in our lives. As our Good Shepherd, He has made provisions for all of our needs, spiritual and natural (Psalm 23:1), and He often uses the members of our Church family to meet our needs, and vice versa. 

Daily, we move toward relationships in love, refreshing hearts when we show up for one another. That can look like contributing our financial resources or sharing a meal. That can look like walking with those experiencing hard seasons of loss and offering comfort. And showing up especially includes forgiveness. As sources of joy and comfort, we support each other in every situation, good or bad, committed to one another’s spiritual growth.

Philemon’s love and faith were a testament to the love and sacrifice that Jesus demonstrated through His life and death. The gospel is the foundation and continuing motivation for all our acts of love. God calls every one of us to live out our salvation among His family of believers. Let’s continue to seek the Lord for specific ways in which we can refresh the hearts of the people God has placed in our lives.

Post Comments (48)

48 thoughts on "Philemon’s Love and Faith"

  1. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord I thank you for everything

  2. Shaena Elizabeth says:

    Mercy thank you for the psalm 23 explanation!

  3. Miri am says:

    @Sarah, I too have not physically been to our church in 15 months (I work in an ER and it just felt safer if I stayed away from everyone else). I have been meeting regularly with some ladies from church outdoors and that has been a wonderful and refreshing time of fellowship. But there is something special about being in a congregation of other Christians. There’s just something wonderful about meeting with other brothers and sisters in Christ and receiving the word from a pastor (or elder) of the church. I too am an introvert and it’s been easy for me to not go to church and just watch it online because I don’t miss the interaction but I have realised I am missing something deeper and spiritual that I can’t really put into words. Anyway, that’s just a personal perspective to say I think it’s great and right you are meetings with other believers in a small group but pray about if God wants something more from you and for you that you would get from being present when the whole of your church meets together. My prayer is that these words are an encouragement and that his Spirit will guide you to what his will for you is at this time sister!

    1. Brandy Deruso says:

      Amen

  4. Victoria E says:

    Alexis. I will pray for you and your bone and joint health.

  5. Victoria E says:

    Mercy that explanation of psalm 23 is totally awesome ! Thanks for sharing

  6. Claire B says:

    Sarah, I have struggled as well. The longer I am away I am seeing discrepancies in teaching. If I am truthful I struggle with the theologies. Am fairly orthodox in my Methodist belief.

  7. Melissa AnneDavisYeater says:

    That’s great! I did a screenshot with that! I want to remember that and share it.

  8. ERB says:

    THANK YOU ladies for PRAYING with me today for my brother, SIL and family… my brother just got back to me about his appointment today… it was NOT as thorough as we were hoping…he was only able to meet with a PA, who didn’t have the extensive knowledge needed for this kind of injury. She basically said “if it hurts don’t do it” and we’ll see you in a couple weeks to get more xrays… definitely NOT the kind of appointment we were hoping for… but some good DID come from it….the PA said that going to school/classes shouldn’t be a problem and his graduate program is totally willing to work with him and to help in any way that they can!! This is INCREDIBLE news and a DEFINITE answer to prayer!!! So THANK YOU for praying and for continuing to PRAY!!! I will definitely keep you all posted on how this progresses…it seems like it’s going to be a long slow process… I will write more tomorrow… but for now I am exhausted and drained. LOVE to all of you!!! Xoxo

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