Leverage is the power to get things done using a certain advantage. In physics, like the picture above, a lever is the advantage to move the world. Do Christians have leverage? They do and they should use it.
Paul was under house arrest and doing some writing when he becomes acquainted with a slave named Onesimus. The slave had runaway and was in some trouble. Paul gets hold of the guy, shares the Gospel, and helps him learn a better lifestyle. Here’s the interesting part, Paul wants Onesimus to return.
In the this letter to Philemon, the slave owner, Paul tries to leverage a common interest in Jesus. How does he do this?
1. Begin with praise. He thanks God every time Philemon is brought to mind. He leverages this with the positive remarks of how he prays that Philemon’s participation in the faith would become more and more effective. Do you see the set up? I bet Philemon did not. However, what harm is there to speak positive about someone before challenging them to act in a certain way.?
2. Encourage to be a better person. Paul is bold. He directly tells Philemon what the Christian response should be to the return of Onesimus.
3. Add a pinch of Jewish guilt. Paul uses impeccable timing and wording to exercise leverage over Philemon. “I am an elderly man imprisoned….” “I wouldn’t want you to do it out of obligation….” “I trust you will make the right decision.” Paul leverages his relationship for the good of Onesimus and the growth of Philemon.
4. Close the deal. Paul requests that Philemon prepare a guest room. As if the praise, encouragement, and guilt were not enough, Paul suggests that he is coming for a visit. In other words, make the right choice or else.
Leverage is important to making massive changes. When a person has stopped with the Devil and started walking with Jesus there are major changes that will take place. Using Christian leverage to help someone out and disciple another is critical. Our Christian influence in our communities is pathetic because we have forgotten a proper use of leverage in the church body that makes a difference in the church’s community.
Our leverage is discovered at a bloody cross and empty tomb; a risen and still alive Lord! This power gives you advantage over the wiles of the Devil. Use it to make the necessary changes in your life and those around you.