Refresh Button – Philemon

I Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it –
to say nothing of your owning me even your own self.
Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord.
Refresh my heart in Christ.

Paul goes back to the personalness of this letter – he’s not writing to someone he doesn’t know, or a large congregation out there. No, he’s writing to Philemon.

He was there as Philemon came to faith. He saw him in his fine clothes, hanging around just outside of the Jewish circle, trying to look like he wasn’t really listening.

He was there when Philemon invited him into his house, to ask more questions. He was there that moment when Philemon believed in Jesus as his savior and was filled with the Spirit. They laughed in joy, dancing like two peasant girls, celebrating new freedom in Christ.

Paul was there when Philemon opened his home to the new church. They all knew the risks, but they also knew the rewards. The baby church grew, but each new convert was also a potential betrayer. And then Philemon got the word Paul had been imprisoned. The mantel now fell on his shoulders…

Philemon knew what Paul had given of himself for him to find salvation. And now Philemon knows how to pay him back, the “benefit” from Philemon in the Lord.

They have been apart while Paul was in prison. Philemon now has the opportunity to “refresh my heart in Christ.”

Isn’t it refreshing to know our work, our time, our devotion bears fruit?

That’s what Paul wanted to know. Sure, he wanted Onesimus to be freed and forgiven. But more than what Onesimus would gain, he wanted to know that his friend and disciple, Philemon, was willing make the choice, the sacrifice, to make that happen.

I wonder, Whose heart could I “refresh” today? And how?