What I read today
Deuteronomy 21-22; Psalm 87; Jeremiah 21; John 19; Philemon
In 1981 Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine starred in a World War 2 movie called “Victory.”
The movie is about a Soccer match that takes place between allied prisoners of war and the German National Soccer team in Paris during the war.
Stallone’s character latches onto the team so that he can attempt to escape from the camp that the prisoners are held at. He manages to escape and get’s to Paris where he meets with the underground resistance. The resistance devises a plan to arrange for an escape attempt of the entire soccer team. However, for the plan to succeed, Stallone must return to the German POW camp to give the plan to the POW’s. Stallone’s comment was “this friggin soccer game is ruining my life.”
Onesimus is a runaway slave. Slavery was a common practice in Roman times. The rich frequently bought and sold people as commodities. Nowhere does scripture condone this practice. It does, however, acknowledge it existed.
Punishment’s for runaway slaves in Rome was severe. Those punishments included branding, breaking bones, beatings, and even execution. No slave owner could be punished under the law of Rome law because a slave was not considered a human being.
Yet Paul was asking Onesimus to return to Philemon voluntarily. I have a feeling that Onesimus might have been thinking, “Paul is ruining my friggin life.”
Sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard. Sometimes he wants us to go places that cause us to fear for our safety. Sometimes he asks us to do things that we just don’t want to do.
But in verses, 4-7 Paul explains that God wants us to do these things so that the message of the Gospel can be sent to the world. He wants us to rely on Jesus so that the sharing of our faith can be effective.
In those times we find hope because Jesus is controlling the events. He’s using us to further his kingdom.