Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. – Philemon 1:21
Do you have a debt? Do you owe anyone any money or time? Most adults in the modern world can relate to this idea. Either we have a home mortgage or a credit card or personal debt of some kind. We live in a world of credits and debits.
Maybe you can relate to this scenario. You are out to lunch with some friends, and you realize that you forgot your wallet. One of your friends, says, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got you covered.” After all is paid and you return to the office or wherever you find you wallet. Only when you go to paid the debt to your friend, he tells you to give the money to another to whom he actually owed a debt, saying, “He paid for my lunch last week.”
For every disciple of Christ, there is an eternal debit of love and devotion. Because of His sacrifice, we have fellowship with God. All followers of Christ should live under the shadow of the cross remembering His atoning work that we could never accomplish. While it is an insurmountable debt, our joy comes in showing our respect for God by showing love for others. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). We may not be able to show Him directly the devotion we feel, but we certainly can demonstrate it to those He puts in our lives.
In the verse from Philemon we consider today, the Apostle Paul is appealing to his brother in Christ named Philemon. Paul has been enjoying the company of a man named Onesimus, a errant servant or rather escaped slave of Philemon. We do not know the circumstances of Onesimus’s servitude, but Paul is sending him back to Philemon while appealing to the latter man’s Christian devotion to be merciful and receive Philemon as a brother in Christ even if their servant and master arrangement must continue until the debt is paid. For this reason, Paul writes, “Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say” (Philemon 1:21).
When you meet a neighbor, do you feel obliged to do more than required? If not, consider Jesus. His love went far beyond the minimum when He said from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34). I have confidence that you will do more than I say.