READ Philemon 1:1-25
Leader/follower relationships are sometimes difficult to handle. Advice on doing so runs the gamut from “familiarity breeds contempt” to “you can’t lead people you don’t know.” In his letter to Phile mon, Paul promotes a strong opinion by modeling an enviable leader-follower relationship with two evidently difficult followers.
This little gem of a book makes an important statement about leader-follower relationships. Paul had led Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, to ac cept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Onesimus was now a Christian. Ethically and, at the time, legally, Onesimus was bound to return to his master Philemon.
That’s the point at which Paul stepped in and wrote this letter to his friend Philemon, who was also a Christian. Although Onesimus was still legally bound to Philemon, Paul urged Philemon to treat him “no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord” (v.16).
The Paul-Onesimus-Philemon set of relation ships described in this letter is rich in leader-follower principles. Underlying all of it is Paul’s plea for this slave owner to treat his slave with human digni ty and brotherly love. Leaders lead more effectively when they bear in mind that they are leading fellow humans. Followers follow more willingly when they view their leaders as fellow humans. Not a bad starting point for the whole complicated subject of leadership, is it?
Interpersonal Relationships and How They Work
There is far too much of value in the Paul-Onesimus-Philemon story to leave it after only one day. Go back today and reexamine some of the relation ship lessons in this short text. Today, as you read see what you can discover about leader-follower relations.
Interpersonal Relationships and Who I Am
Even the strongest relationships break down. Trust ed allies will betray you. Key subordinates will fail. Does that mean that the relationship is finished? Let Jesus and Peter answer that question. Turn to Acts 2:14-40 and observe as a restored ally advocates for the friend he has so tragically wronged.
Interpersonal Relationships and Who God Is
Relationships should benefit all who are involved in them. The Bible deals throughout its pages with the manner in which God-human and person-to-person relationships work to the benefit of all concerned. Turn to Exodus 17:9-14 and read about how God related to a human leader, and how this leader in turn related to his trusted follower, in the midst of a desperate situation.
Interpersonal Relationships and What I Do
It’s amazing how much we can learn by observing what God has built into his creation. All of his crea tures “relate” in some way to all of the others. Turn to Genesis 2:18 to discover a fundamental truth about effective leadership.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize Colossians 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
– Bible Gateway.Com