4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.If I were Philemon, I would be so encouraged in my ministry to hear these words from Paul. To know that someone is praying for me regularly, to know that my faith walk is being seen in a good light, and to know that my faith brings joy and comfort to someone else. That would be SO very encouraging.
Philemon just sounds like a fellow whose been pastoring his people well. And Paul's prayer is that Philemon learn to share his faith more effectively so that more may have full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for Christ's sake.
I have to look at how Paul prays for Philemon....he prays thanking God for Philemon's ministry. He doesn't thank Philemon, he gives the praise where it is due, he thanks God. God is the one who enables Philemon to engage in his ministry. God is the one who makes it all possible.
Paul praises God for the faith and love Philemon has for
- for the saints
He prays the God will enable Philemon to be a more effective witness.
Philemon refreshes the hearts of those around him. Hmm.....have to admit, I like the sound of that. Someone who refreshes hearts in their ministry. Someone who brings joy and comfort as they minister. Sounds pretty good doesn't it?
And Paul is going to ask this man, his family and his church to do a difficult thing.
After reading what Philemon is like, I wonder if it was a difficult thing for him to do?
Either way, he was a man God was using well for ministry. May God also so use me well for ministry.