WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5
Author: Rev. Scott Tucker
Pastor for Grand Adults
FROM THE BIBLE
So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
A few years ago, one of my friends called me out of the blue. He had been offered a chance to leave a job that had him feeling as though he were a slave to the company to go out on his own and follow his dreams. Unfortunately, that dream opportunity soon began to feel like a nightmare, and he was in a spot where there was more month than there was paycheck. He had the simple request to borrow some money from me to help him get his family through the last few days of the month, and I told him, “No.” I gave him the money he needed, but I told him he shouldn’t pay me back. I didn’t want him to feel obligated towards me but to accept the money as a gift.
While Paul was in prison, he became close to a man named Onesimus, a runaway slave of Philemon. Towards the end of his letter to Philemon, Paul tells him that if Onesimus has done him any wrong or owes him anything, Paul will be the one to pay it back while also reminding Philemon that Paul was the one to bring him to Christ. Many commentators have written that this reminder is to make it so that Philemon will simply absolve him of the debt, but I’ve always taken these words slightly differently. Paul wants to remind Philemon of the grace shown to all of us through Christ’s death and resurrection.
We all have been shown this grace, a grace that is much greater than any of us can truly grasp, and here’s the amazing thing about grace: we cannot earn it! We cannot repay the debt we would incur if we could somehow put that grace into a dollar and cents manner. But we also aren’t supposed to sit idly by and not respond to God’s grace. When we think of the ways that God has blessed us with this grace, our hearts call out to respond.
During this time when we at Peachtree are Renewing the Promise, we are called to give, not out of a sense of obligation or a belief that we must pay back God for what He has done for us. Rather we are called to give as a response to God’s grace.
Gracious God, You have shown us the greatest blessing in the world by offering us freedom from sin through Christ Jesus, yet we can be hesitant to respond to this grace. Help us to see this opportunity through Your eyes of grace rather than our own vision that sees our giving as an obligation. In Jesus’ name, we pray; amen.