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Reserve a Room for Fellowship

Reserve a Room for Fellowship

Words of Faith 1-3-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philemon

[22] And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.

 

     Paul had made the best case he could.  From a distance, he had argued in every way that made sense that Philemon should free Onesimus from slavery and maybe even send him back to aid Paul.  It was now in the hands of God and in the heart of Philemon.

     Paul then requested something for himself: Prepare a guest room for me.  There is a great deal expressed in that simple request.  First was the hope that he would be freed from his chains to minister once again amid the people around Ephesus and Colosse. 

      But there was also hope and an assumption that close fellowship with Philemon would continue in the future.  Paul did not want the outcome of this decision to come between him and a precious brother that he had helped to grow in Christ.  

      To stay in a person’s home was the closest of trusting relationships, even closer than dining together in table fellowship or dining together. Paul had probably stayed in Philemon's home on earlier occasions in much the same way that Jesus stayed in the Bethany home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.  Paul hoped that this sort of close fellowship would be restored shortly.  He also hoped that this was the desire and prayer of Philemon.

      Relationships can be rough.  This was a time when Paul leaned on his influence in an attempt to persuade.  Even so, there was no guarantee that Philemon was going to do the right thing here and receive Onesimus as a brother.  There was the hope that Philemon would see the value that Onesimus was to Paul and send him back as a freed brother to serve in ministry.  But whatever the case, Paul wanted to keep the doors of close fellowship open. 

        Relationships can get broken or misaligned over the smallest of matters.  The truth is that most of the stuff we humans get upset over will be of little consequence in a hundred years and will be totally forgotten in a thousand years.  Yet we see churches split over trivial matters such as the choice of the carpet color or the alignment of parking spaces.  People leave church fellowship over even smaller issues such as who got to sing the solo on Easter, who was chosen to serve on a committee or a name left out of the bulletin.  This is especially true in a Christian culture that is more focused on market competition than on evangelizing the lost.

       The truth is that if we are believers, we will all be together in heaven, and we will need to learn to get along.  We will need to get over hurts and concerns and learn to love one another.  We cannot avoid people in heaven if time is without end.  We will deal with issues both large and small, either now or later.

      Paul knew that.  That’s why he asked for hospitality to be extended to him.  He wanted to be sure that one thing was clear—the relationship is always more important than the dispute.  We sometimes miss that.  No matter the decision that was made by Philemon, no matter the outcome, Philemon was more important than any decision, dispute, or disagreement.

      Have you been stewing over something?  Maybe is it a conflict in your family or in the Body of Christ.  Is there a disagreement or dispute that you have been harboring to the point that it has caused a break in friendship or fellowship?  Paul would advise you to make a plan to be in fellowship.  Reserve a room.  You will be together with that person in heaven.  You will eventually forget the dispute.  You will eventually get over it.  Why not start now.  The truth is that we do not always get our way.  In many situations, Paul did not.  But he still reserved a room for fellowship.

 

      Father God, help me to see the ways that I have contributed to the disputes in my life.  Give me the grace to weigh things in the light of eternity.  Help me to see the really important things—the advancement of the Gospel and the people who need Jesus.  Help me to put the person before the conflict and the relationship ahead of the results.  In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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