Written by: Pastor Sharon Lantis
This is the month when we are all thinking about giving, and I have been thinking about the wonderful gift of grace that God gives to us, the very gift that saves us. What is God’s grace? A divine influence on our hearts and its reflection in our lives. A supernatural enabling to live the life of Christ in us.
We are also called to give grace to those around us. What does that mean? To give comfort, hope and words of edification to inspire others to live for Jesus.
As I have been contemplating this I thought of the story of Philemon and Onesimus (you can find the story in the short book of Philemon). Onesimus was a runaway slave who came to Paul in prison and became his servant, his helper his very heart. The owner of Onesimus was Philemon, a godly man, full of grace who was a friend of Paul.
All three men are called to give grace. Paul must give grace to release Onesimus to do the right thing and return to Philemon. Onesimus must chose to be obedient to Jesus and return in grace to Philemon. Philemon must be willing to give grace to Onesimus, receive him back as a brother in Christ and free him from slavery.
Giving grace to others sometimes requires giving up something that has benefitted you. Those that we work and live with are neither our servants or our slaves – they belong to Jesus. Giving grace releases those around us to be who God wants them to be.
Sometimes giving grace to others involves giving up our perceived rights for we, too, belong to Jesus.
The story ends beautifully. There is a transition from bondage to brotherhood for Onesimus, Philemon responds to Paul’s encouragement to give grace and Paul uses the story as a lesson for all of us.
I am reminded of Phil 2:5
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, NASU