That is why I am boldly asking a favour of you. I could demand it in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do. 9 But because of our love, I prefer simply to ask you. Consider this as a request from me—Paul, an old man and now also a prisoner for the sake of Christ Jesus.

10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. (NLT).

It was a poignant, powerful and touching moment. ‘Who are your children?’ The preacher challenged us with his question. ‘Where are your children?’ Then moving over to another younger pastor and his wife, who were sitting on the podium with him that day, he threw his arms around them and declared, ‘Here are two of mine!’ I’ll never forget the seismic impact of this great preacher, senior leader, and genuinely humble man, being able to not only ‘talk the talk’ but clearly ‘walk the walk’ as well. He had led this couple to Jesus a few years earlier.

Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, had encountered the apostle Paul in prison. But much more than this, he had met Jesus. Nevertheless, it was through running into Paul that he got to know Christ. Paul became his spiritual father.

Note: if you find yourself in a restricted place – somewhere you would rather not be – you may discover that God has some purpose in your being there.