1 Corinthians 1:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Like Paul we servants and belong to Christ. That “mark” that Jesus “Our Master” has placed on us makes us “HIS” slave and therefore we do exactly what HE says for us to do.
Jesus says in
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
I first want to begin by shouting from the rooftop – Thank You to MY MOST INCREDIBLE GOD because HE being the Loving-Long Suffering- Kind FATHER who shows me tender mercies. HE alone blesses me daily without any requests or pleadings and for that I am most grateful. Joyous feelings today OK.
I Surrender Awl to JESUS
First let me give this disclosure: I do not endorse any physical pain on anyone at any time.
So I begin with drops of history, as well as a remembrance that I love the English language; I find it rather interesting. Words can be fascinating and often not truly explained, so there began my research and interest in the word AWL. Slaves were often given a mark to differentiate them from other slaves so that everyone would know who they belonged to or who their master was.
Now we refer to the definition of an AWL:
An Awl is a pointed tool that makes a hole, piercing or a distinguished mark, typically placed upon the slave/servant so that all who came in contact with that person (I use “person” very loosely, because slave masters in America did not consider any slave an actual person, but a possession).
Exodus 21:6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
Slavery in Ancient Rome is depicted at times differently than what we have known it to be here in America. Many slaves under the Roman Empire often were highly educated and history shows many were accountants and physicians. Often times these slaves obtained freedom fairly quickly compared to slavery during the 1600-1800’s in North America.
Slaves in Rome were placed in high esteem in their households and were typically “valued” by their owners. Even their opinions and thoughts were considered pertinent. Now, do not misunderstand this…they were still slaves and those liberties did not apply to the vast majority. As I stated previously, this is in major contrast to slaves in North America. American slaves were not given any of these amenities and they were especially forbidden to read or write – let alone handle currency.
Under the Roman Empire, most slaves were White, and viewed as a human; especially the educated ones. But we know slaves here in America were Black and even sometimes natives of this land. American slaves did not have rights and were not remotely considered human. As history depicted in much of our understanding, American slaves were valued only for labor as if they were livestock.
Now, Rome was a mercantile area which means it was an import/export trade center and many traders and merchants were often Black and white as well as Asian. It would not have been a distraction or out of the ordinary to see merchandise and money or even slaves exchanged by Blacks or people from other nationalities. So in this case, ones skin color was not a precursor to be a slave. Most slaves were sold by travelers and/or merchants. They were unskilled and many were sentenced to slavery as punishment. Since they were not professionals they worked in farming, mining or the mills.
Slaves in Rome were not considered significant but overtime they gained increased legal protection including the right to complain against their masters. This happened during a rebellion after many enemy soldiers became slaves during the Republic of the military expansion and because of such mistreatment. Remember Spartacus!!! Hence, more rights, legal restrictions and stability for slaves occurred.
Slavery has been around a long time so it’s not a word or an action we are not aware of. It existed also among the Israelites and under Hebrew law according to:
Deuteronomy 15:12; And if thy brother, an Hebrew man or an Hebrew woman be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years, then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free. It was not intended that a slave should serve for life.
Any group of people that maintains (in their eyes) superiority over others and create slavery and then practices great violence as well mental torture so that fear is maintained, is practicing ungodly behavior.
Even in Egypt, the Israelites were slaves under Egyptian rule. They were in bondage and experienced much hardship. Then GOD sent Moses to lead HIS people out of Egypt. EXODUS – oh such a great read.
Exodus 8:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord Let my people go, that they may serve me.
This is just me sharing some history in order to give some background on slavery which brings me to our brother in the faith Onesimus who was a slave to Philemon.
Philemon 1-25 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, 2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house, 3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, 5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; 6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. 8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, 9 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds. 11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me, 12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels, 13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel. 14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. 15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever. 16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? 17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. 18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; 19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. 20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. 22 But withal prepare me also lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. 23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; 24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Colossians 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.
Yes, a Christian owned a slave. According to scriptures, Paul, who was in prison in Rome, wrote to his friend/brother in Christ Philemon. Paul gave him positive words regarding his NEW brother Onesimus, how he had been converted, and that he was now a partaker of the truth. What a surprise. See Paul met Onesimus in prison and taught him the truth. And of course during the conversation it became known that Onesimus had run away from Philemon -his brother/friend. There is no exact word in the scripture on whether or not Philemon treated Onesimus badly. But the word “slave” has a negative connotation. Who wants to be a slave? Who wouldn’t want to RUN. Don’t miss this beautiful story – it’s better than my blog. LOL Now…Paul was therefore pleading with Philemon not to mistreat his brother because he was sending him back to him and to treat him like he would treat Paul himself. Can you imagine that beautiful greeting Onesimus received from Philemon? ☺ Personally with that LOVE Letter to Philemon I can only imagine the LOVE that was shared between Onesimus and Philemon.
I Love – Love Stories
Now let’s look at this from Paul’s perspective. Paul called himself a doulos – which is Greek for bondservant, slave or servant. Paul was stating that he “belonged to Jesus.”
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Let’s make sure when people see us they can see Christ in what we say or do.
Remember we are in subjection to “Our Master.” We surrender voluntarily, unlike slaves that are bought or sold, they have no choice. But YOU! YOU have a choice.
Who are you a slave to? Who is your master?
Have you allowed Jesus to use an Awl on your heart? Be the bondservant to JESUS and follow HIS command.
Think about this and reflect on JESUS being the only Master worthy of praise, love and service.