Philemon 1:22 – “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.”
Paul, a prisoner, is writing unto Philemon because of Paul’s confidence in Philemon’s obedience. Knowing that Philemon is a devoted and faithful servant of Christ, Paul knew that he could trust Philemon with the very words that God wished to preserve until the completion of the Word of God.
But in the last sentence, before Paul bids farewell, he makes a request of Philemon. He asks for a lodging to be prepared for his arrival. Paul made this request for lodging while he was imprisoned in Rome and awaiting judgement. Paul knew that even in the face of utmost improbability, God was still the Lord of Creation.
Nowhere, throughout his mission trips or imprisonment, did Paul ever lose sight of the fact that God was in control. Paul had not received any confirmation of God that he would be allowed to leave Rome, yet he told Philemon (and the believers at Philippi in Philippians 2:24) that he trusted that he would soon visit them.
Paul purposed in his heart that he would be prepared to continue the work of Christ should his chains be loosed in Rome. Paul was not hoping to be freed only to renounce his faith in Christ, after all, one of his greatest desires was not to become castaway top the cause of Christ. Paul asked Philemon for a lodging so that he could have a place to lay his head after a long day of soul winning and ministering to the saints of God.
Paul was later imprisoned again and taken before Nero a second time (See the end of 2 Timothy Chapter 4), yet the fear of Caesar did not deter Paul because of his fear of God. Paul was purposed to continue, and he made plans to continue to run the race that was set before him.
How often, in our age, do Christians treat the cause of Christ as a contingency? The say, “If I can,” or “I’ll try to.” They rarely face persecution to the degree that Paul did, and despite their religious freedom providing endless opportunities to live for Christ, they treat him as a footnote in their life.
We ought to set out hearts as Paul did, that regardless of inconvenience, affliction or persecution, I will always make plans to live for Christ tomorrow as I did today. No matter the cost, Christ is worth living for. We should count all the gains of the world as less than worthless, but how many see the treasures they could lay up in heaven as worthless?
If, at some point in your walk for Christ, times become truly hard in your life think of the opportunities to bring the light of the gospel to someone else. When the world tries to bury us in obscurity, nothing will lift your spirit more than hope that God could choose to use you to give a lot soul the most joyous news in all of history. Make plans to share Jesus with someone and your burdens will surely become less of a burden.
Your fellowservant in Christ,
Bro. Jordan Foster