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The Runaway Slave

Onesimus runs away from Philemon.
Contributed by Julia Watson
Onesimus was a slave. His name meant 'useful'. Onesimus didn’t like being 'useful'. Being useful, all the time, was boring. Being a slave was hard work. – Slide 1
He worked as a slave for Mr and Mrs Philemon. Mrs Philemon liked her floors really clean. – Slide 2
She liked her jars and ornaments polished and shiny. Onesimus wished there weren’t so many of them. – Slide 3
Then one day Onesimus accidentally dropped one. He was scared. 'Uh oh. She’ll call me useless again,' he muttered. It’s her favourite vase. What will she do to me? – Slide 4
‘Well, that’s it,’ he decided. ‘I’ve been thinking about running away, anyhow.’ <br/>When no-one was around, Onesimus slipped into his master Philemon’s money room and helped himself to a bag of gold. – Slide 5
Then out into the city streets he ran, as far away as he could. <br/>It was not as easy as he thought, being a run-away slave. If Roman soldiers found him, they could even kill him! That was the law, then. – Slide 6
Onesimus had to spend much of his time hiding. Eventually even the gold he had stolen ran out. His clothes began to get ragged. Sometimes he managed to grab some food from a stall in the market place.  That was where, one day, he met a surprise friend. ‘Come and have dinner with us,’ he said. – Slide 7
‘I want you to meet a special friend of mine,’ said his new mate. ‘His name’s Paul. I’m sure he can help you.’ <br/>Onesimus was rather taken aback to discover they were going to visit Paul in prison! You see Paul had been imprisoned for telling people about Jesus. – Slide 8
‘You are important to Jesus too,’ said Paul. ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re a slave.’ <br/>‘But I stole money from my master,’ said Onesimus. ‘I’m in big trouble! And I’ve got nowhere to live.’ <br/>‘Let’s ask God to forgive you,’ said Paul. ‘I think He has a new life waiting for you.’ – Slide 9
‘What did you say your master’s name was? Philemon! Amazing! He’s an old friend of mine.’ <br/>Paul sat down and began to write a letter.  <br/>‘Dear Philemon, I’d like you to take Onesimus back, but not as a slave. Treat him as a brother, because he is a child of God, too.’ <br/>P.S. ‘If he owes you any money, I will pay it back for him.’ – Slide 10
At last Onesimus felt brave enough to return home. <br/>Philemon thought hard about Paul’s letter.  <br/>‘Yes,’ he said. ‘We should forgive each other, because God forgives us for the wrong things we do. Welcome home, Onesimus. And this time I’m going to make sure it really is a good home for you!’ – Slide 11
Slide 12