For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 28:30-31, NIV)
This is how the book of Acts ends (can you believe we went through the whole thing together?!). Paul has taken the gospel of Jesus Christ to Rome. He isn’t in ideal circumstances, but that doesn’t seem to hinder him (After all, Paul said: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV)
Here are a couple of closing thoughts as we finish our study of Acts:
1) God will accomplish what he sets out to accomplish. He said the gospel would reach “the ends of the earth” (see Acts 1:8) and it has – Paul’s preaching in Rome.
2) The disciples who heard that promise would have NEVER expected Paul would be the fulfillment of that promise – at the time he was persecuting the church.
3) Make the most of every opportunity – even imprisonment – to show yourself faithful.
4) Though the book is commonly called the Acts of the Apostles, perhaps a better title would be the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
The end of Acts is a bit ominous in that we never hear from the Apostle Paul again. Tradition tells us that after two years of imprisonment, he was martyred by beheading at the hands of Nero (acc. to Ignatius). Nevertheless, God has used him mightily.
Have you ever read the poem “The Dash”, by Linda Ellis? It talks about the dates on a tombstone. What is significant is not the first date, your birth, or the last date, your death. What matters is the dash – what you do with your life. [Editor’s Note: I would post the poem for you to read, but she sues everyone who does…cashing in on HER dash, I guess. You’ll have to Google it yourself].
Paul started out on the wrong course and missed many productive years of service to the Lord. But he sure made up for it – he made the most of his d*sh.
You and I should strive to do the same.