17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”(Acts 28:17-20 [NIV]).
The Apostle Paul finally reaches Rome. There he begins to share the gospel with many. And while being under guard no less. Paul has embraced his hardship to see the gospel spread throughout the known world.
What do we see when we confront difficulty and challenge or even set back? Do we see something we must endure, or do we see it as a way to spread the gospel.
Let me ask you a few questions (hopefully not stepping on anyone’s toes).
- When COVID 19 hit were you more concerned about getting together and worshiping again with friends and fellow believers, or seeing how you could in the name of Jesus help those that were being hurt by the pandemic?
- When your car breaks down alongside the road are you more concerned about the trouble and delay it is causing you or excitement who God may send your way who may need Him?
- Are you excited about helping a neighbor in need or put out by the football game you’re missing?
These questions are convicting for me as well. Let’s follow Paul’s example and have gospel lenses on all the time – in the good and bad circumstances of life – and see what God can do through our reactions.
Father God, please bring people our way who need you even if that inconveniences us. Give us gospel eyes for your honor and glory. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!