April 22nd, 2007
A few years ago I was attending a conference near Chicago. Some people were very kindly providing accommodation to us in their beautiful home at no charge. One evening we decided to go to watch a baseball match. The baseball match was quite an event, but the home team won, so it all worked out fine. However, by the time we got back home after dropping off all our passengers, it was around midnight. Our hosts had given us a front door key so that we wouldn’t have to wake them, so it should have been quite simple for us to sneak inside. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. We put the key in the lock, but it wouldn’t turn…
Paul’s Letter to Philemon
1:1 From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our dear fellow worker, 1:2 and to dear Apphia, to Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the church which meets in your house. 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:4 I am always grateful to God as I mention you in my prayers. 1:5 I hear about your love for all the believers and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 1:6 I pray that you will fully understand every good thing which Christ provides for us so that your sharing with other believers is effective. 1:7 We derive great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the believers have been revitalised by you, brother.
1:8 That is why I am bold enough in Christ to tell you what you should do, 1:9 but instead for the sake of love I plead with you. I, Paul, an old man, and now a prisoner of Christ Jesus, 1:10 plead with you for my child. In my imprisonment I have become a father to Onesimus, 1:11 who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 1:12 I am returning him, that is, my own heart, to you. 1:13 I wanted to keep him with me, to serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the Good News. 1:14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your generosity would not be forced, but voluntary. 1:15 Maybe the reason why he was separated from you for a while was so that you would have him forever, 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a dear brother, especially to me, but even more so to you, both as a person and as a follower of the Lord.
1:17 If then you consider me to be a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 1:18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 1:19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it, not to mention that you owe me your own life. 1:20 Yes, brother, do this favour for me for the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 1:21 I write to you with full confidence that you will comply, knowing that you will do even more than what I ask.
1:22 Please prepare a guest room for me, because I hope that in answer to your prayers I will be returned to you.
1:23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends his greetings, 1:24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 1:25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.