THE CHANGED ONESIMUS
Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. (Philemon 1:11)
The story of Onesimus is extraordinary. Onesimus was once in prison with Paul. He was imprisoned, not because of the Gospel, but because of the crimes he had committed. That was the reason why Paul said that Onesimus was useless to Philemon because the presence of Onesimus had harmed Philemon. However, a change happened in Onesimus’ life while he was in prison. As his life was renewed, Paul saw that Onesimus was ready to be sent back to Philemon.
Can we imagine this story? Let say we have an employee or a relative who works at our place of business. At first, he works well. As a result, he is entrusted with managing our business. However, over time, we find out that he steals and does detrimental things to our business. He is reported to the police and the court sentences him to many years in prison. As God's children, are we only satisfied with the court’s verdicts? Or will we continue to pray for that person, that he will repent and receive God's grace?
Perhaps Philemon was surprised when he read Paul's letter about Onesimus. However, his heart was moved when he heard that the power of God had changed Onesimus’ life. God provided an opportunity by bringing Onesimus to Paul. A man who used to be completely useless became someone useful for Philemon's ministry.
Aren't we the same as Onesimus? We are people full of sin and evil things. However, by God’s love and grace, we are saved and adopted by Him to become His children.
Is there an Onesimus around us? Let us love and pray for him so that the door of repentance will be opened and he will ask to receive God's grace.
The Lord can destroy every hardness of the human heart.