The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 45
So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.
–Philemon 17 (ESV)
Imagine a king arrives for a visit, disguised as a common man. If you know he is the king you will treat him differently than would someone else, who sees only his outward appearance.
–Jean Pierre de Caussade
Imagine you are Philemon, a friend of the apostle Paul and the leader of a church that meets in your home. One day, your runaway slave, Onesimus, returns with a letter from Paul, who is currently in prison. Paul has become Onesimus’s spiritual father; he is sending him to you in his own name, saying, “receive him as you would receive me” (Philemon 17). Furthermore, he expresses the hope that you might be pleased to release Onesimus and send him back to Paul for good.
Now, instead of Paul sending Onesimus, picture God sending you the present moment. In Philemon 11, Paul said of Onesimus, “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.” Now imagine God saying something similar about the present moment: “You longed for a deeper holiness and a closer walk with God, but you saw nothing in the present moment that could help you achieve it. But I see it differently. I see that this is exactly the moment you need; it is useful, and it is holy, sent in my name. Receive this moment as you would receive me. And if it seems good to you, give this moment back to me that I may use it as I please.”
This is the opportunity that presents itself to you, not once or twice a day, but moment by moment. The present moment is spiritually useful, both to you and to God.
I like to think that Philemon did send Onesimus back to Paul, and that, with his letter, Paul not only freed the slave, but he also freed the master from his former way of thinking. Likewise, there is freedom in receiving each and every moment directly from the hand of God.
The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.