Useful to the Master
We've all heard how something is 'the best thing since sliced bread' - Why? - Because it is useful. I also had a friend at University who used to say how things were 'useless like a chocolate teapot' - I always thought was quite an amusing analogy!
Our lives were always intended to have a purpose and plan in the Kingdom of God. God has ordained that each member of the Body of Christ is vital and useful to each other to enable the body to function in a complete and coherent way, to give glory and honour to God.
The story of Onesimus is a fantastic one in this area. Onesimus was probably in Paul's day a common nickname for a slave. Paul plays on the greek word Onesimos which means 'profitable' in Philemon 11.
I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me - Philemon 11
Onesimus was a slave of Philemon of Colosse. He robbed his master and made his way to Rome, the frequent goal of such fugitives. Some Ephesian or Colossian person in Rome, perhaps Aristarchus or Epaphras seems to have recognised the man and brought him to Paul in his captivity. Onesimus became a Christian and was persuaded to return to his master. From that incident came the exquisite letter of Paul to Philemon. It appears that Onesimus left Rome in company with Tychicus, carrying the letter to Philemon and also Paul's letters to the Ephesian and Colossian churches.
Evangelism and Discipleship in the Kingdom of God are about taking lives that are 'useless' and making them 'useful' to God and his Kingdom. So what are the principles to living a life that is useful to God from these passages:
- Know your identity as a 'Son' not a 'Slave'
- Submit to Godly Authority in your life
- Live a life that is Holy, based on the Word of God
- Live a life in the awareness of the fear and glory of God
- Stay pure before God
- Be willing to serve in whatever God calls you to
- Be Reliable, Dependable and Consistent
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work - 2 Timothy 2:21