“Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.” (Philemon 21)
Have you ever sat at the dinner table with a group of people, and noticed that everyone has finished their meal? Everyone, that is, except for the child who is also sitting with you? He stares at his food and asks, “How many bites do I need to take to be finished?” He wants to know the least amount of bites it will take to be excused from the table. He is interested in the bare minimum and nothing more. This is pretty typical behavior for a young child, but if we were all honest with ourselves, we would admit there are areas of life where we behave the same way. In those areas, all we want to know is what we need to do to get by.
Paul makes a fascinating statement in his letter to Philemon. He boasts of his confidence that Philemon will do even more than he asks. He is certain Philemon will go above and beyond what is required of him. Paul knows Philemon, and when it comes to following Jesus, he knows he is not just interested in the bare minimum. Philemon is all in. He is committed. He is fully devoted to serving God and living out his faith.
What do people see when they look at you? Do they see a Christian who is only interested in the bare minimum, or do they see a Christian who is entirely committed to following Jesus? This is not about perfection; it is about commitment. It’s fine for a person to stumble while striving to go above and beyond. As Christians, we are to love God with ALL of our heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:36,37). We are to seek FIRST the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Before becoming a Christian, we are told to count the cost (Luke 14:25-33). Christianity is not about bare minimums or doing just enough to scrape by in life. It is about understanding that Jesus died to save us, and therefore, we now fully, wholly, and completely give our lives to Him. Don’t hold back anything!