I finished reading Acts in my bible reading plan today, and the book ends on a somewhat abrupt note. Paul has made it to Rome as a prisoner; he sits in house arrest for two years…. then nothing. No climactic trial before Caesar, no divine rescue from Prison, no further tales of Paul’s missionary journeys. The books simply concludes:
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:30-31 ESV)
Imagine two years chained to a Roman soldier, unable to leave your house. What would you do with that time? I think one of my chief inclinations would be to think that my ministry was over, that God had taken me out of the game. Paul doesn’t see it this way. He sees God’s hand constantly at work, putting him in the right place at the right time with the right people, all for His divine purpose. Paul may be in prison, but he is just as much “on mission” as if he were preaching in the marketplace or the synagogue. He sees the sovereignty of God in every appointment, and fulfills his calling to preach Christ to all who come to him, continuing to speak with “boldness” even though he’s already in prison for preaching Christ. For Paul, every moment was an opportunity to live for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Have you hit a “speedbump” in your life? Do you ever feel like you’re just biding your time until you get onto the “real” work of God? I admit I have sometimes felt this way, and I repent of this misguided mindset. God is always at work in and through His people. They are never – ever – put on the shelf, never in a place where they cannot be an effective light for Him.
Where has God placed you today? Who has he given you to love, to welcome, or to teach? Start there. Be faithful in the little things moment by moment, and let God put you where he will for his glory – even if it’s chained to a Roman guard, your time doesn’t ever have to be a waste for the kingdom of God. You have divinely set appointments everyday. Are you open to meeting them?