20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. Philemon 1:20-22 [ESV]
Today is my final reading in Philemon! Feels like it has been so quick.
What affected me the most when I read this passage was what Philemon had to offer Paul…a refreshed heart. Paul says here that he essentially needs benefit from Philemon; and it is through the body of Christ (through Philemon) that Paul finds this refreshment. Al throughout the New Testament, we see Paul as a man who saw the face of Jesus, heard Him speak to Paul on the road to Damascus, and he (Paul) had a very clear mission given from Jesus to preach the gospel and win over the Gentiles to the Kingdom of God. But here we see Paul with needs, and those needs fulfilled through Philemon.
Finally, Paul’s last words here contain a confident declaration that Philemon will come through and take back Onesimus and do even more than what Paul has asked for. Additionally, we see Paul asking Philemon to prepare a room for him (Paul) in hopes that through prayer, Paul will be released from prison to come see him. I love this continued surrender to the Lord and dedication to fulfilling His will and purposes. Paul is essentially saying, “God willing, I plan to come to you and stay.”
I need to look to the church body around me for ‘refreshment of the heart’ in Jesus but through the saints. I need to be humble to understand that a lot of the goodness God has for me here on earth comes from those Christians around me. I also need to have the mindset that “God willing” this or that can happen. This harkens back to my reading in James where he had similar teaching.