Restoration is Good for Everybody
The gospel is all about restoring sinners, who repent, to fellowship with God and His people. Paul had seen the penitence of the runaway slave, Onesimus, and observed his changed life.
So, he asks his former master to receive him without recrimination (Philemon 1:12-16). That would be the right thing to do: it would do Onesimus good, it would be good for Philemon's faith and witness, good for the Name of Christ and the progress of the gospel. It would also be a continuation of the refreshment Paul received hearing news of Philemon who was a partner in the gospel (Philemon 1:17).
Whenever right teaching is put into practice it refreshes the heart of the teacher. Most Christians do not give a second thought about their pastors' hearts after they have preached or taught in small groups. Hebrews 13:17 says, "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you."
Your pastor is not just a theologian distributing spiritual information, or a care-worker to meet your personal needs. Every pastor loves their flock and longs that they be changed into the image of Christ. Whenever that happens in you, you become a source of great spiritual refreshment to your teacher. Your obedience to the Lord will encourage the pastor to persist in the hard task of spiritual shepherding. So, when you respond to God's Word in faith, it is good for everybody!
© Dr Paul Adams