30 Paul stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
“Man, I hate this COVID pandemic and what it has done to my way of life! I sometimes feel like a prisoner in my own house.” How many times have you and I felt this way in the past year? With the lockdowns, quarantines, group restrictions, social distancing and masks, it often feels like being under “house arrest.”
In today’s scripture, that’s exactly where we find the apostle Paul, under house arrest in his own rented house in Rome. His way of life had changed drastically. He could no longer freely travel about preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. How did he handle this? Could we use him as an example of how to navigate sharing the gospel during these times?
First, Paul did not complain about his circumstances. He recognized that although his freedom was restricted, the gospel was still unhindered. He realized Jesus had not only been with him as he swept across the known world, He was now still with him in confinement. He also understood that he now had an opportunity to preach the gospel in the heart of the Roman Empire.
Paul responded to his circumstances by being hospitable. His door was always open. He welcomed all those the Lord placed in his path. Some of his guests were his associates, including men like Luke and Timothy. Others were strangers who might just have been curious to meet him. The neat thing is the authorities knew what he was doing, yet they put no obstacles in his way. Paul also wrote letters to churches, including the books we now know as Philippians, Ephesians and Colossians, and to his friends like Philemon.
We can apply Paul’s responses to our own situations. Rather than wasting time complaining about things we can’t control, we can give our circumstances to God. After all, He is still in control, and Jesus is still with us. We can also look for opportunities to share the gospel even when our activities are restricted. Like Paul, we may be able keep our doors open to visitors. But if not, we can write letters, make calls, send emails and texts, or use any of the other communication options we have available today.
There is no limit to the ways God can use us to share the good news. But like Paul, we need to make it our priority.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How have you handled the isolation of the pandemic?
- Do you still seek to share the gospel?
- Are you using hospitality as a way to share the good news?
Pray for God to continue to allow the pandemic to recede across the world, and for doors to reopen to send and support gospel work across the nations. As regions open back up, pray for people to continue to have open hearts toward the gospel in new ways.