Well here we are, at the end of another book together. I haven’t read through the entirety of Acts in a long time, and it really did my heart some good. This is our history, church. These are our people. Paul, our pioneer.
I love how Acts ends. It’s a great picture of what being part of the church or ministry can look like sometimes. You’re a part of a crew on a giant vessel riding the unpredictable waves of ministry. You tug on each other’s sleeves, warning of approaching storms and trying to steer them away from mistakes. Things begin to break apart. You start throwing things overboard. Things you’ve used in the past, things you might need later. Perspective gets lost, people start turning on each other.
But then someone speaks up. Someone who has been listening to God and hasn’t been engulfed by the current circumstances. Someone whose feet are also wet from rising water, but who isn’t afraid. They suggest that everyone stops to share a meal, break bread and pray together.
The last few verses of the book tell us that Paul lived in a guarded house in Rome for two years, on his own dime. The greatest spokesman and apostle, restricted from freely ministering as he desired. So what does he do? He does what he can. He writes letters to encourage the church (Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians). He writes personal letters to encourage friends (Philemon and 1 & 2 Timothy). He witnesses to the Roman guard watching over him (Philemon 1:13). Paul shows us there is never a time or place in which you can’t glorify or serve God.
When you read the letters he wrote under house arrest (my favorite is Philippians), there’s not even a hint of bitterness. He’s encouraging and exhorting.
I have a lot to learn from Paul. When things get hard, my attitude is far from his, to say the least. How you respond to trials in ministry (aka in life) is a good gauge on where your heart is with the Lord. He is so faithful. Paul weathering a shipwreck with a calm heart and loyal stance isn’t a mark of what a great man he is, but what a powerful God we serve.
This morning I’m stepping back and asking myself, what stops me from glorifying and serving God in any circumstance I’m in?