•  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Onesimus is another faithful man, another beloved brother. It doesn’t say anything about his being a fellow-servant, but he is a faithful and beloved brother. We read quite a bit about him in the Epistle to Philemon. He had not always been a faithful and beloved brother; he had been a very unfaithful man. He had run away from home and perhaps helped himself to his master’s funds. He probably thought he had worked hard and got no pay and was entitled to a little cash. Anyway, he ran away from his master, arrived in Rome and got converted there. That man was transformed by the grace of God into a beloved and faithful brother.
So it doesn’t make any difference what our past has been, if the grace of God comes into our lives, all the privileges that belong to any child of God lie before us. We can appropriate them. Don’t be discouraged by thinking how bad you have been. Onesimus certainly had a bad name. Probably they said some very harsh things about him where he came from, but here the Spirit of God is pleased to record, “Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother.” His name means “profitable.” He certainly had not lived up to his name in the early part of his life. He had been unprofitable. He had been a liability to his master. Now he goes back — no longer unprofitable, but profitable. I wonder how the Lord would write you up — as profitable or unprofitable? In one sense we are all unprofitable servants, but we want to distinguish between things that differ. That doesn’t mean that we are to slump down, fold our hands and say, “I am an unprofitable servant,” and stay still. That scripture does not mean that we should not have an earnest desire that we might be enabled to do something to please the Lord, something that He can own as for Himself.