Tonight I read Philemon, the last definative Pauline letter if you’re reading from Matthew to Revelation. It helped put some perspective on all the grief, fatigue, and other emotions going on since the passing of a friend of mine.
In Philemon, Paul appeals for the release of one of his followers from slavery. Onesimus, Paul explains, was “formerly useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.” Onesimus was a new man in Christ.
Paul sums up his appleal: “If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul write this with my own hand: I will repay it…”
The Christian life is the freedom from slavery - the slavery of sin and death. Our past trangressions should not be held against us by other Christians.
Once we start walking with the Lord, we all deserve freedom from our checkered pasts. We should be remembered for the time we spend serving the Lord wih the gifts that He gave us, not for our screw-ups from a time when we were, in all reality, “useless” to God.
We also need to be grateful to God for the blessings and hedge of protection he gives us. We should not take them for granted.
So those are the two lessons I’m learing from all this:
1. Don’t take blessings for granted.
2. Anyone, regardless of their history, can be transformed from “useless” to “usefull” if they hand their lives over to Jesus Christ.
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
My friend Chris fulfilled all the requirements below. See you in heaven dude.
- above reproach
- the husband of one wife
- able to teach
- not a drunkard
- not violent, but gentle
- not quarrelsome
- not a lover of money
- must manage his household well, with dignity
(See 1 Timothy 3: 1-4)
This is a facinating article from the Economist way back in 1969.
The inquest that was immediately ordered raised the issue of “stimulants” or, to put it plainly, drugs. Mr Simpson’s death also started people thinking about the whole question of commercial competition. For the two things are connected with one another. These cyclists are professionals and it is for money that they drive their bodies beyond endurance…
Tommy Simpson belonged to the small group of big money-spinners. A shrewd cyclist can buy a house, a farm, a business. But to earn that much money he must stay in the limelight, force himself to pedal even faster and to go on climbing those agonising hills. These feats of endurance make the difference between affluence and merely getting by.
It is small wonder if a man becomes tempted to use artificial means to sustain his efforts. Whatever the truth in Simpson’s case, it is well known that the anti-doping law introduced a couple of years ago has not prevented cyclists from taking drugs in order to keep the wares of their sponsors well to the front. Maybe the feeling aroused in France by Tommy Simpson’s death will lead to a revulsion against the dangers that can turn the life of a sportsman into the death of a commercial traveller.
History is an amazing thing.
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