Divineinsight BY HUMPHREY MTANDWA
In his letter to Philemon, Paul describes how much value Onesimus had gained when he was in his company.
Paul acknowledged that before the encounter, Onesimus had been useless. He even said now he had become like his bowels.
Anything Onesimus owed it was as if Paul owed Philemon. The bond of their relationship was so deep and the investment Paul had made was so much that he staked his ministry on him.
The term franchise is used to describe many different kinds of business relationships.
In this business format, a company licences its trademark and methods to another company for royalties.
This relationship between the franchisor, who is the owner of trademark, and the franchisee, who is the user of the trademark, is solely tied on the terms of the agreement.
In Christendom we can apply such concepts to ministry.
When an individual carries the name of a man of God who has already received international acceptance, he also attracts those that follow the man whose name he carries.
But by skipping certain foundational training acquired in growing as a minister until the stage of acceptance communally, nationally or internationally, we end up with novices in positions of influence.
Fatherhood is not about just carrying a man’s name, but is about learning from him and gleaning from his strengths and even weaknesses.
Without learning from his struggles, we end up with novices in leadership positions because they never understood the sacrifice it took to get that recognition. It’s easy for the door to open, but to keep it open with negative character is hard.
It is wise to use the grace of those that have been there before us to skip certain stages in ministry, but we are then called upon to be accountable to those individuals that we acknowledge publicly to follow.
Yet many just want the glory of the name, but are not prepared to submit.
Fatherhood is about being an accountable son and student.
When people gather around an individual for the name he is associated with, and not for the fruits of his own walk with God, they end up being abused, which is why Paul discouraged appointing novices to leadership positions.
A certain man of God said no matter how tall your father is, you have your own growing up to do.
We have individuals who don’t pray or fast yet they desire to oversee God’s flock.
Paul had the authority to rebuke and correct Onesimus, but we have in our generation children who move from father to father because they don’t want to be accountable, but just want the name and influence it carries.
If a son is young, their mistakes are viewed as the parents’ fault and at times the parent is accountable for the errors and misjudgements of the child.
But then a child has responsibility to also grow and learn from the father because there comes an age where the son’s errors can no longer be accounted to the father. Paul said he travailed in prayer for young believers until Christ was formed in them.
Paul’s success was not only tied to his strength in the word, but in his passion for prayer. He understood that what you cannot maintain through prayer will not last in the natural.
Paul had a responsibility to birth sons in prayer and his prayers formed the character of Christ in Onesimus. When fatherhood is a franchise, we have fathers who are not prayerful and raise sons who are not accountable. Fatherhood is not in carrying the name of a man of influence, but allowing his passions to become your passions. When Paul said Onesimus had become like his own bowels, he was acknowledging that he had become so much like Paul that he understood his deepest desires.
Paul had different sons and had a unique relationship with each one of them. But all seemed to have a strength that Paul himself acknowledged. The responsibility to grow is not of the father’s alone, but also of the son. If being a son is solely on influence, not on fruit, we will have novices in positions of influence.
God bless you.
Humphrey Mtandwa is an anointed minister of the gospel and teacher of the Word based in South Africa. He has written several books including The Enoch Generation, Truthfulness and Theophany. He blogs at mtandwa.blogspot.com and can be contacted via e-mail or WhatsApp on +27 610286350.