Ministry in the Crisis
Acts 28:7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It so happened that the father of Publius lay sick in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and cured him by praying and putting his hands on him. 9 After this happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They bestowed many honors on us, and when we were about to sail, they put on board all the provisions we needed.
Paul was a prisoner on a ship that was to take him to Rome. Along the way they encountered a terrible storm and eventually the ship broke apart and all those on board safely made their way, some swimming and others floating on pieces of the ship to the island of Malta. There on the beach the people of the island reached out and helped those who were in desperate need.
Paul got to know Publius, the leader of the region. When he discovered that the man’s father was ill Paul went and ministered to him. This provided Paul with an opportunity to minister to people on the entire island. It was the people who were sick with diseases who came to him because they had heard about his ability to heal. He healed those with diseases, ministering to their physical needs. The result was a relationship with a group of people whom he may have never known. Paul had been in a crisis but that crisis turned into an opportunity to reflect Jesus’ healing ministry to a community.
Paul had an uncanny ability to see unconventional opportunities. What do we do when we are shipwrecked in life? Paul could have become hung-up on the crisis, for it was huge. Yet, he saw opportunity in the crisis. This was a place where he had never been able to tell people about Jesus. We aren’t told whether he ever preached with words in this place, but instead we are told how he revealed Jesus’ healing power by healing people of their diseases. He ministered to the peoples’ physical needs in a time of crisis and it opened a door to future opportunity.
None of us are all too excited about having to face difficulties or a crisis and yet, it could be that God is opening doors in this type of a circumstance. We may be treading into uncharted waters and wondering what lies ahead. Paul had no idea and yet he simply continued reflecting Jesus in every single circumstance.
Seize the crisis in life and allow God to use it as an opportunity to reflect him. This is the challenge that Paul places before us. He encouraged us to follow him as he followed Christ. Ministry in the midst of crisis seems to reflect the Image.
Lord, please help me to follow you daily into the messy situations of life. Amen.
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