Acts 28:16, 30-31-"Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him...Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him."
Paul is on his way to Caesar to appeal to him for the harsh treatment he had received as a Roman citizen. Along the way, he has several (well, more than that!) opportunities to spread the Gospel he has been commissioned by God to champion.
It is his time in Rome that this particular passage covers. I was struck by what it meant. You see, Paul was allowed visitors into his home. He had people who would and could come and hear him preach the Word of God to them. But he also had a Roman guard who was with him at all times.
Think about that for a second. It struck me when I read it; and I KNOW I've read this account many times before. But this time, it really hit me. Paul had a captive audience. Now, I don't know if it was the same guard all the time, or if the guards had shifts or what. But think about that...Paul had people who HAD to be around while he was preaching to other seekers. Scripture never really states what these guards thought while listening to him preach, but you can't believe that God's Word was spread over them so thickly that it didn't affect them somehow.
Paul was in "chains", but had more freedom than most of us exercise right now.
What about you and I? If you work or do any kind of service, you have people who are contact with you all the time. It might be people in your office; your school; your home. We joke about it at my work area, but we spend more time with our co-workers than we do our families on an average week. What do they hear from you? Me? What do we portray in our walk?
Do we give them something quietly to listen to; hoping to catch a glimpse of where we get the hope for the future we have? Or do they hear someone who is always down; always muttering; always ruing the day and just making it look like their salvation is just another speedbump on the road of life?
Are people around you because they sense a hope in you that they want; or is it because they don't know how to cut through the shackles to get away from you yet? I want to be free in my bondage to Christ. And I want others to share that freedom as well.
Look around you...open your eyes to the world beyond your walls.
Be blessed in the Lord today.