June 20, 2014
READ: Philemon 1:10-20
He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord (v.16).
Michael Dettlaff’s visit to Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2013 turned out to be one gem of a trip! The 12 year old ended up leaving its confines with a truly precious stone. The park, where visitors can dig up and keep jewels, has given up more than 75,000 diamonds since it was discovered in 1906. Michael’s glittering find was a whopping 5.16 carats, much to the delight of his whole family. He named the diamond, valued at nearly $15,000, “God’s Glory”.
The apostle Paul appealed to his “beloved co-worker” Philemon to accept a diamond-in-the-rough believer named Onesimus “for the Lord’s sake”—for His glory (Philemon 1:1,20). Onesimus was a slave who had stolen from his master, Philemon. Paul, however, had become the young thief’s “father in the faith” while both had been in prison (v.10). The apostle had seen him turn to the light of Christ and away from the darkness of his former deeds.
In explaining why Philemon and the other believers should welcome Onesimus back to the fold, Paul wrote, “He is no longer a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me” (v.16). God’s redeeming work had cleaned, cut and polished the former slave—creating someone who reflected God’s brilliant radiance. In Paul’s eyes, Onesimus was truly a “new person. The old life [was] gone; a new life [had] begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Who are the diamonds in the rough in your life? It can be easy to give up on people with blemished pasts or rough ways. But God calls us to look beyond the surface to the beauty that may be concealed within—His restoring, refining presence. Start digging—God’s glory is waiting to be revealed! —Tom Felten
365-day plan› John 3:22-36
Read Philippians 2:15 to see how those who have received Jesus as their Saviour can shine for Him.
Why do we sometimes shun young or immature believers who are still a bit rough in their faith? How can you help others grow in their faith to God’s glory?