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If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me. But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; Philemon 1:17-18

Paul appealed to Philemon and asked him to receive his former slave Onesimus back without punishment for running away. In addition he asked him to see him in this new light as a brother in the Lord. Can you imagine? How did Paul pull off such a big “ask”? He reminded Onesimus of the eternal truth that we all will one day stand before God. We all need God’s grace and Jesus Christ.

As pastors we operate on relational authority, not positional authority. This is a very important lesson in ministry. Paul could have demanded as an apostle that Onesimus did this. But rather, he made his appeal based on the investment Paul had made in his life.

How do I operate in the body of Christ? Do I demand my way? Is my rationale to people “because I said so” or “because I am the boss”? If so, my ministry will be short lived and ineffective.

Jesus, You are my model in all things. Oh how you demonstrated leadership by serving! May I be the same. I am not greater than You Master, its enough I am like You in this way. Help me make appeals, not demands.

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