During election season (don’t worry this post is not political in nature), I try to learn what I can about people and want they stand for. I am not bound by any stripe or affiliation, I just observe their behavior and I specifically look for how or if they exalt God in any way. Sadly, I seldom find any reference to God. In reviewing their rhetoric I see quite a few examples of a “trust me” attitude. It is almost as if they are asking me to accept them without question. So that led me to reflect on what it takes for me to trust someone, to accept what they say or do, or to honor their request.
In a letter to written to Philemon (in Paul’s own hand), we read of a relationship that Paul developed with Onesimus. From reading this account it seems that Onesimus was at one time not worth much, maybe we would call him a ne’er do well. However, during Paul’s imprisonment, Onesimus had become very profitable to Paul. In verse 10, Paul refers to Onesimus as his son. Paul goes on to say how much he means to him and how he would love to have him by his side but part of Onesimus' problem was that he had unfinished business with Philemon. Paul recognized this when he asked Philemon to allow Onesimus to stay. Paul said in verse 12 that his bowels or his heart were the same as in Onesimus. After stating his case, Paul pulls out his last request and in verse 17 says, “If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.” In other words, Paul is saying that whatever you think of me, extend that to Onesimus. Paul is asking Philemon to “trust me” and honor my request. Paul further says that if there is a debt or a wrong to apply it to his account and he will make restitution. Paul had a relationship with Philemon that gave him the comfort to make this plea.
So what type of person should I accept and honor their request? A friend and fellow believer (verse 1), a person of love and faith toward God (verse 5), someone whose faith helps them to appreciate every good thing in God (verse 6), someone who loves God’s people (verse 7) and someone who will listen and respond over and above (verse 21). Be careful who you trust and confide in. Make sure they have the same godly desires as you do. Don’t get caught up in the loose rhetoric…just allow God’s ways to direct you. Enjoy your coffee.
Love you all,
Gary W. Hall, Pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.