October 31st 2009

Useful In Christ

“Formerly he (Onesimus) was useless to you (Philemon), but now he has become useful both to me and to you.”

Philemon 11

8th of a series of studies from Philemon

Have you ever felt useless? 

I know I have. They have been times when I have felt completely worthless and of no use whatsoever. 

It is God who gives us our sense of worth. It is because God values each of us that our life on earth takes on meaning. The biblical authors refer frequently to ideas about how much we mean to God. For example, God delights in us and we are excellent in his estimation (Psalm 16:3), and we are his “treasured possession” (Malachi 3:17). “God is for us” (Romans 8:31). 

Onesimus was a slave who had deserted his master, Philemon. Interestingly, the name Onesimus in the Greek means literally “useful”. Paul is explaining to Philemon that this runaway slave has his worth in Christ, and that therefore he is now useful both to Philemon and to the community of the church.  

Let’s remember that no one is useless. We have been made in the image of God, and we have all been accepted by Him through the sacrifice of Christ. No matter what anyone says to you or calls you or does to you to bring you down and make you feel like nothing, God lifts you up in Jesus. Jesus did not die for you because you were nothing to him: he died because you were and are someone very special to Him and to the Father and to the Spirit. 

We have become God’s children in whom He is well pleased, and we are of great value, of wonderful use in the work of the Lord. 

Just like Onesimus, we have become useful. 


Our Father, thank you that Jesus died for me because you valued me as a person and wanted me to be Your child. Help me, Father, through the Holy Spirit, to be always useful, helpful in the work of your Son, Jesus Christ.


Study by James Henderson