Free to be a slave
Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman are American national heroes. They escaped from slavery and became passionate abolitionists.
Slavery was also widespread in the Roman Empire of New Testament times; many of the first Christians were slaves. One of them, a man named Onesimus, ran away and found the apostle Paul, certain that someone who proclaimed freedom in Christ would provide refuge.
To Onesimus’ great chagrin, Paul asked him to go back to his master. “I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. . . . He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 12,16). The letter that Paul wrote asked sacrifices of both, but the greater sacrifice was that of the ex-slave who had to decide whether or not to give up his freedom.
Would I have given up my freedom for Jesus? I don’t know, but I do know I admire Onesimus’ courage and trust in Paul’s judgment. And get this—50 years later Bishop Ignatius of Smyrna wrote a letter referring to a certain Bishop Onesimus of Ephesus. Hmm . . . Do you think this was God’s way of rewarding a faithful slave?
Navigate your relationships with confidence!
Whether it’s in marriage, church, the workplace, or dating, we all have moments when we need help navigating relationships. That’s why we want to send you a brand-new book from Time of Grace called Walking Together: Focused on Jesus.
A relational tool that speaks as a friend, Walking Together shares life-learned biblical principles so you can walk with confidence in any relationship by keeping your eyes fixed on the highest example of a true relationship ever: Jesus.
We’ll send you Walking Together to thank you for your gift today to help reach more people with the timeless truths of God’s Word. Thank you!
For more from Time of Grace visit them at TimeofGrace.org.