Philemon 17-19 NLT
So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it and I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul.
This past Sunday I shared the last message in the series called CHANGED. What a powerful picture and lesson comes from the book of Philemon. It is a word that you and I need to learn from in big ways because God brings people to us that we interact with.
Paul is the writer of the letter to Philemon sent to a guy named Philemon. It is about his slave who stole something, and then ran away. The slave is Onesimus, and he ended up in jail where Paul happened to be. Paul was there for preaching about Jesus. Onesimus was there as a run-away thief. That is where God changed Onesimus’ life for good similarly to how God has changed your life and mine.
The letter asked for mercy and a second chance, but Paul also put himself on the line. He took a risk on Onesimus. He said that he would pay whatever the thief owed and more. Paul also asked that Philemon take a risk on his slave.
We learn in this book of the Bible about interacting with people that God is using. Philemon was a follower of God too because he hosted a house in his church. Onesimus needed help, and God knew that and intervened. Paul was on a mission to share truth.
Paul took a risk on Onesimus. Philemon took a risk on Onesimus. Onesimus took a risk on himself and on those around him. In fact, Biblical history tells us that Onesimus became a pastor of the church in Ephesus. All of that happened because someone was willing to take a risk on someone else.
Who took a risk on you? I remember an old pastor who took a risk on me. His name was Jerry Amstutz, and he served the 11st Baptist Church in my hometown. There are other men and women like Patricia Stafford (my 3rd grade teacher), Dan Korver (my 8th grade Bible teacher), Phil Dietz (my youth pastor), and so many others took a risk on me. I am grateful. I would not be who I am today without some people taking a risk on me.
Who have you taken a risk on? There are some many people through my life that I can point to that I have taken a risk on. To name a few: Ben, BL, Becky, Steve, Sid, Teresa, Jerry, Matthew and more.
I pray often that God will point out people that I can take a risk on. Because we reach out to others, because we offer someone a 2nd chance, because we are kind and take a risk on someone God might use them to help many others have a life that counts in huge ways.
Let’s take a risk on others. May our lives count for more than we will ever know!
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.