“It’s not that I want you to do it. It’s that I want you to want to do it.”
If you’re married or in a relationship, your partner has probably either said something like this to you or you have said it to them. If one of you hasn’t said it, you have probably wanted to, and it’s likely that a big argument or two was had where you dance around the sentiment, these exact words flashing in your mind like an old-time movie marquee.
The “it” never really matters much. Taking out the trash, painting the bedroom, traveling to your in-laws’ for Christmas — whatever the subject matter of the disagreement is, it’s all just so much set dressing. The heart of the matter is the sacrifice and desire. That’s what it all hangs on. Am I with a person who will sacrifice for me?
When Paul writes to Philemon that he is sending Onesimus to him, he says exactly this. He tells Philemon that he would prefer to keep Onesimus with him, but that he does not want to deprive Philemon both of Onesimus and the opportunity to make a sacrifice worthy in the sight of the Lord.
The point is not who gets to hang out with Onesimus. The point is, as it says in the Gospel, who is willing to carry his cross? Who is willing to renounce his possessions? Who is willing to do the good deed for the sake of the other?
God doesn’t care that much about what we have to offer. He cares much more that we have the strength to offer whatever we have.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS