March 2013, Vol. 32, No. 3

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Useless or Useful?

posted on June 8, 2019

[144 words]

No one wants to feel useless. Onesimus was a slave to Philemon, Paul’s Christian brother. His name meant “useful.” But, Onesimus had become a runaway slave, and probably stole from his master to make his get away (Phile. 18). Onesimus met Paul in Rome in some way unknown to us, where Paul taught him the Gospel which he gladly obeyed (v. 10). Paul’s letter to Philemon encouraged Philemon to receive him back not just as a returning slave, but now as a brother in Christ (v. 16)! While lost in sin Onesimus could not live up to his name – Useful. But, when he became a child of God, he became useful to Christ, to Paul, and to Philemon! Paul wrote, “He was useless to you, but now is useful (v. 11). Obeying the Gospel turns a useless life into a useful one! Praise God!

Darwin Hunter
Sunset church of Christ
Shreveport, LA

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