8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 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. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
What do I do when someone I know gets saved? What is my roll after I have the privilege of introducing someone to Jesus? This passage is all about these things and reminds me that evangelism is all about making disciples, not just sharing the gospel and leading someone in a “sinners prayer”.
It appears that Onesimus was not a Christian when he was Philemon’s slave but was lead to Jesus while in prison with Paul (v10 and v15). And now the real work for Paul has begun. He becomes a Father to Onesimus. He writes to a former employer to help restore a relationship. Paul takes upon himself any of Onesimus’ debts. He considers Onesimus and beloved brother and of great help to the ministry.
Am I this organised and committed in my efforts to share the gospel? Can Jesus entrust to me precious Souls because He knows I’ll care for them – disciple them – beyond simply sharing the gospel?
Dear Jesus, help me grow more and more to be someone who can “send those that don’t know You to me. I’ll care for them and disciple them. You can count on me”.
Written by Boudy vanNoppen