Following his conversion to a Jesus follower, Onesimus became increasingly valuable to Paul (Philemon 12 and 16). There was a part of Paul that didn’t want to send Onesimus back to Philemon. He didn’t want to lose access to the needed help he provided. But Paul knew “It’s not about me.” He not only put the well-being of both Onesimus and Philemon above his own, he also offered to pay any debt that Onesimus might owe. He put others first.
In doing so, Paul was following the example of Jesus, “Who…made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2.6-8). Because Jesus put others first—and changed history, our eternities, and our hearts—Paul did as well.
Putting others first has the power to revive a fractured marriage, to build faith in another, and to restore hope. Today, to remind you of Jesus as our example in putting others first, write Philippians 2.5-8 on a 3 x 5 card and place it a prominent location where you’ll see it often.