Extending Credit

Philemon 1:18 (NIV):  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.

I take debt very seriously, probably because I have been in debt most of my adult life. Right now, I have a mortgage. The home I live in is actually owned by the bank.

Even up until recently I have had credit card debt. I managed the debt well, but I was extremely excited to be free of those obligations.

Paul wrote to Philemon about a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had run away from his owner, Philemon, and had found his way to Paul. With Paul, Onesimus had become a Christian. Now Paul was sending Onesimus back to Philemon.

But wait… slavery is wrong! What was Paul thinking?

Well, at that time slavery was the law of the land. It was and is morally wrong, but slavery was legal. So Paul honored the civil government at the time by arranging for Onesimus to return to his master. Hard to do, but that is what happened. Philemon was a Christian but still could have responded with his rights under the law and severely punished Onesimus.

Paul, as a mentor and mature Jesus follower, intervened. In his brief letter to Philemon he shares that if Onesimus had done wrong or owed anything, Paul would take care of the debt.

Wow. In other words, Paul would extend credit to cover any loss that happened as a result of Onesimus. This action reminds me of the Good Samaritan spending his own money and stating to the innkeeper that he would cover any extra expenses.

How does this story apply to me? I believe that it reinforces my role as a steward. My money is not my own. God can direct me, and He has, to cover expenses incurred by others. God doesn’t want me in debt TO others, but He can direct me to take care of the debt OF others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I want to hold on to my money and resources, but that would mean that I own the money and resources. I don’t. You do. I am a steward. As You will, direct me to support others who are in need. I commit to being under Your control.

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