We are not Powerless

There is nothing to do….”

Have any of you heard this over the past couple weeks?  Are any of you guilty of saying it yourself?

It might be very easy for us to think about all the things that we want to do, but we cannot.  

We want to see one another. 
We want to gather as the church for worship & Bible study. 
We want to go to a restaurant and share a meal with others.We want to go on trips, get back to work, and even go to school!

We want to, but we can’t… and it stinks.

However, this does not mean that we are powerless.  Often when we realize that we cannot do something; we also think that we cannot do anything.  

And in response to that, I want to take a look at the words of Paul:

At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.  (2 Timothy 4:16-18)

So let’s think about what he is writing…

Paul is in Prison.

Paul is writing about a defense he made for what he was doing as an apostle.  He is standing trial while also under house arrest for sharing the gospel. In many ways, he is under the same constraints that we are.  He cannot leave his house to do as he pleases. He cannot gather with friends or the Church. He cannot travel or maintain his usual routine.  Paul is all alone.

It would be very easy for Paul to just give up, sit at home, and await his sentencing.  However, this is not what he does!

Paul is still Proclaiming

Despite what appears to be a dire situation, Paul takes hold of the opportunity that he is given.  He goes before the leadership that will hear his case and proclaims the Gospel to everyone who is listening.  He did not regard his current situation and an obstacle or excuse to give up his calling. Instead, he viewed it as a new venue and a new opportunity to reach new people in new ways.  Ultimately, God delivered him in this particular situation and he stood confident that God was using his current situation to His Glory and for the Kingdom.

So how about you?

Paul did not let his current circumstances keep him from fulfilling his mission.  How about you? How is God using you during this time of “social distancing”? Are there doors that God is opening to you?  Are there opportunities to connect with people in new ways that you are discovering? If you are not sure, let’s look at some opportunities that we are seeing:

Start with your family.  For many of us, we are spending way more time at home than ever before.  All the things that used to over-fill our calendars are suddenly gone. Take this time to clearly share the Gospel in your family and develop healthy spiritual habits like a family devotion & quiet time.

Look in your neighborhood.  Have you noticed an increase of walkers, joggers, and bike riders?  There are many people who are getting out of the house and exercising in their neighborhoods.  How can you reach them? Be present! Try taking a walk yourself, working in your yard, or sitting on your front porch.  You can wave, greet, and converse with neighbors as you distance yourselves. As you do so, be sure to ask how you can pray for them!

Pick up the phone.  Not everyone is savvy with computers, but just about everyone has a phone. Set aside time to call people.  You can call people in your church or people from work. Try to check on friends, classmates, and the elderly; anyone God has laid on your heart.  Again, make a point of offering to pray with them. You never know who needs to hear the Gospel!

Get online.  Finally, we are so blessed to live in a time with the internet.  Through the world wide web we are able to video chat, message, post information, and SHARE THE GOOD NEWS THAT CHRIST DIED TO SAVE US FROM SIN & ROSE FROM THE GRAVE.  There is no better time to start an online Bible study, share your testimony on social media, or invite a friend to watch a church service online. You can also reach out to neighbors, start new groups to connect with people, or just check in on people with whom you have lost contact.

Paul used his time under house arrest to see that “the proclamation [of the Gospel] might be fully accomplished…”

How might you do the same thing?