Devotional Thought: Big Jobs Need Big Tools!
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philemon 3:3)
Before becoming a pastor I was a welder/heavy-equipment mechanic. I worked on bulldozers and such. Whenever I repaired those machines, I often needed specialized tools. For instance, for a particular repair on bulldozers, I had a wrench that was six feet long and weighed 50 pounds. I used a long pipe over the handle for leverage and used my bodyweight to loosen and tighten bolts. Big jobs need big tools. Paul was teaching this principle to Philemon in today’s verse.
Philemon had a servant named Onesimus who stole from him and ran away. During his escape, Onesimus encountered Paul’s ministry, was saved, and became part of the ministry team. As time passed, Paul decided it was good for Onesimus to return to Philemon and work things out between them. Onesimus, escorted by Tychicus, arrived in Colosse with this letter in hand. Culturally speaking, Onesimus was in trouble. The laws and social norms of the day were against him. Philemon had a free hand in deciding his future.
Paul suspected Philemon might feel betrayed or angry and may be tempted toward resentment and employing secular justice. He prayed Philemon would embrace God’s grace (divine influence on the heart) and peace (his identity resting in Christ) as resources needed to obey Christ. This type of reconciliation was a big job that needed big tools.
Some buddies and I were climbing Pikes Peak and one of the climbers in our party ran into trouble. He became dizzy, his legs cramped, and he started to hallucinate. He was an athlete in good shape. We learned later he failed to pay attention to the basic resources needed for hiking the mountains of Colorado. When climbing fourteeners, one must take frequent rests, fuel the body with proper food, have clothing for a variety of weather changes and stay hydrated. High altitude activity stresses the body. To deny the body these valuable resources is dangerous.
When those in Christ’s body deny themselves important resources needed for living victorious lives, they too can wander into dangerous territory. We make bad decisions when we don’t resource God’s grace or trust that our identity in Christ is real and safe. When our responses flow out of our wounds laced with anger and fear, we are choosing to use human resources. We don’t need to do this. We belong to the Lord and He will offer to us all we need for victory.
When it comes to responding to those who have offended us, we need God’s resources. Those in ministry will receive personal and relational offenses. That’s a promise! Our own resources are inadequate. Our motives are lacking. Our strength and desires fall short. The business of forgiving others is a God-size job requiring God-size tools. As Christ’s ambassadors on this earth, we all need frequent trips to the refreshing springs of God’s grace and peace.
Rev. Will Mackey, Director of Enrollment Management
Filed Under: Blog Published: 09/04/2018