Sunday Devotional: Philemon 1:15-19

“For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.  If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.  I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.  Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.”  (Philemon 1:15-19)

Reconciliation.  If there is any word that sums up the book of Philemon it’s that one.  Paul is writing to a fellow believer in Philemon in hopes that there will be reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus.  Paul knows (and wants Philemon to know) that it is important in the life of a believer that there is peace among other believers.

Onesimus was a slave of Philemon’s who ran away and ended up in Rome where he heard the gospel preached by Paul and became a Christian.  As much as Paul would’ve loved to have Onesimus stay with him in Rome, he knew that Onesimus needed to go back to Colosse and reconcile with Philemon.  Paul also knew that Philemon needed to receive Onesimus not as a slave but as a brother in Christ.  Philemon needed to do the right thing and Paul trusted that Philemon would do that.

Reconciliation is important in the life of a Christian today.  We need to be reconciled to God and we need to be reconciled to fellow believers.  We are only able to do that because of Jesus.  When we do reconcile, our relationships are restored and we’re able to follow Jesus better.  This week, let us seek to restore our relationships with God and with one another.

Reflecting on the Ultimate Warrior

I am a pro wrestling fan.  I have been since I was a kid.  I am one today.  Granted there have been some seasons where I didn’t follow as much but I enjoy watching it, especially old matches.  Being a child from the 1980s, I was a Hulkamaniac.  I rooted for Hulk Hogan big time.  But, in the late 80s/early 90s there was another wrestler that I was a huge fan of and his name was the Ultimate Warrior.

Ultimate Warrior was like a comic book character come to life.  His face was painted and he had this huge rocking theme music and run down to the ring and shake the ropes and beat his opponent in like no time.  I thought he was awesome.  The first ever wrestling event I went to as a kid, he was on the card.  I don’t remember much but the energy I do remember.

I always remember the main event match of Wrestlemania VI between WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan verses WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior in the “Ultimate Challenge” title for title match.  I remember as soon as that pay per view came out on VHS I rented it from the local video store and would watch that over and over.  And seeing Ultimate Warrior win that match was such a cool sight that I wished I was in Toronto to see it in person.

As I was checking twitter tonight, I saw it come across that he had passed away.  I was shocked.  For those that don’t know, he was just this past weekend inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and appeared at Wrestlemania XXX.  He was just on Monday Night Raw last night.  Those three events seemed like an impossible thing for years.  The Warrior had a rough relationship at times with the owner of the WWE Vince McMahon and left the company several times in the early to mid 90s and hadn’t been with the company since 1996.  The relationship was so bad that the WWE put out a DVD in 2005 called “The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” that was basically a way to say a bunch of bad stuff about the career of the Ultimate Warrior.  Both sides were angry at each other for years upon years.

Then last year, the Ultimate Warrior did a commercial promoting the latest WWE video game WWE 2K14.  He was going to be a character in the game.  Then in January, it was announced that he was going to be a part of the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame and the headlining member on top of that.  It was really cool to hear that things had patched up.  Then just a week ago, the WWE released a DVD/Blu-Ray set called “Ultimate Warrior:  The Ultimate Collection” where Ultimate Warrior spoke on his life and career in wrestling and was a balance to the previous DVD release.  Then of course was this past weekend and celebrating the career of the Ultimate Warrior.

It is sad to hear of his passing.  He left a wife and two daughters.  As I think about his life, one thing that comes to mind right now is the reconciliation that took place between him and Vince McMahon.  It was good that the both of them reconciled and worked things out.  It’s a testament to all of us that it should be something we all could take notice of and do our best to reconcile those relationships where we’ve been hurt or where we’ve hurt others.

I’ll remember the Ultimate Warrior and I’ll still remember that 10 year old version of me that shakes those imaginary ropes and slams those imaginary opponents.  And I hope that the man Jim Hellwig had a true and personal relationship with the greatest warrior, Jesus Christ.