I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.
I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.
For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. Philemon 1:10-16
Do you think there will be slavery in heaven? I don’t either. We ought to live today, as we believe we will live in heaven- with lives marked by love, forgiveness, joy, righteousness, justice, holiness, etc.
Philemon was led to the Lord by Paul. While Paul was imprisoned, Philemon’s runaway slave came to him and was converted as well. Seeking to reunite them, Paul appeals to Philemon to accept Onesimus back without punishment, not so much as a slave, but rather as a beloved brother. He wanted Philemon’s voluntary assent, so he pointed out that in eternity they would no longer relate to one another as master and slave. Wow! Now that’s a strong argument for doing what’s right!
Is there anything in my life unfit for heaven?
God, as we begin this day- would you work within my mind and heart so that I live in such a way that pleases You and prepares me for heaven. If there is anyone I have wronged, reveal it to me, that I may make amends. I am looking forward to all You have planned. May I be useful to the kingdom of God today.