"The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, 'Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!' The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'" Acts 16:27-29 NIV
In this portion of scripture, we find Paul and Silas imprisoned for ruining the business of a Roman sorcerer who was a slave girl. They were accused of casting out a demon from the psychic girl who was being used by her owners to make money. This made the people angry. The Romans brought Paul and Silas before the magistrate. They were convicted of teaching against Roman customs. Their sentence left them beaten with rods and thrown into a cell. Personally, I would have found this a perfect time to start feeling sorry for myself and maybe even complained about my sore body, but I love the reaction we see from these amazing men of God. They began to give thanks to God and sing worship songs in the midst of their bad situation!
The Roman correction officer didn’t know it, but he was about to have a bad day at work, just like Paul and Silas just had a bad day of sharing Christ. So many times we are faced with a decision on how we are going to react to a bad situation in our own lives, but I want to show you a pattern of thought that we all need to possess when we are going through life’s struggles.
An earthquake rocked the prison, the doors and chains fell off the prisoners, and the jailer was having one of the worst days you can imagine! Back then, the penalty for losing prisoners wasn’t getting fired; it was a slow, torturous death. The guard was ready to fall on his sword and kill himself, rather than suffer the consequences. Has life ever brought you to the point of hopelessness? People all around us have bad days, and I think Paul and Silas have a lesson for us in this story. If I had been in their situation, my first response would have been to run and get away, but Paul and Silas set their attention immediately on the guard. The Bible teaches us that God will leave the 99 to go after the one lost sheep, and I think that is exactly what they were doing. The guard was the goal. They immediately responded by telling him that they were all there so he wouldn’t feel like he was going to be in trouble with the boss. The result was amazing! The first thing the guard said to them when he realized they cared for him more than themselves was, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Here’s the key point. People all around us are having rough times. We can choose to serve ourselves, or we can choose to reach out to them and show them the love of Christ. That waitress who is messing up your order may be having the worst day ever. Are you going to rip into her or show her the love of Christ? Your Christ-like attitude, in a time of crisis for someone else, could be the one thing that will cause them to ask, “What do I need to do to be saved?”
Father, in Jesus' name, help us realize that there are lost people all around us every day. Give us the strength to look beyond ourselves and go after them with Your love. One kind word or gesture in the most opportune lead could be the difference in their lives. Lead us to those who are in need of encouragement, and let us be the greatest expression of Your love the world has ever seen! Teach us to look for the one in our daily lives and take the moments You give us with them and to make them fruitful.
In Jesus' name, Amen
How do I react when my day isn't going the way I planned? Do I worship, or do I complain?
How do I act or react to those who cross my path each day?