Faith and Influence

October 29, 2008 at 10:53 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Grace and Faith | 2 Comments

Acts 27.  As I read this chapter, I wonder who, from the human point of view, is in control.  Paul is sent to Rome with a centurion to guard him.  There is a ship captain, the ship’s sailors, the Roman centurion, a group of prisoners including Paul, and others including Luke and Aristarchus.  One would think the captain or the centurion would be the authorities, yet as the journey progresses, it seems more and more that one of the prisoners is in charge!

            Paul was probably more trusted than the other prisoners to begin with, because his case was an appeal of Festus’ decision to try him in front of the Jews; because he had never given any sign of causing trouble with his captors; and because both Governor Festus and King Agrippa thought that he was innocent (26:32 – I’m sure the centurion knew these things).  Centurion Julius allowed Paul some privileges that most Roman prisoners would never be permitted (v3).  When the season got late and the weather got rough, Paul was allowed input into the decision to winter in Fair Havens or sail on (9-12).  Though his advice was not followed, he still had the opportunity for input; that seems a rather strange entitlement for a prisoner!  After many days of fighting the storm, Paul stood up and addressed the crew with encouraging words God had given him (21-26).  Fourteen days into the storm, the crew sensed that the ship was approaching land.  A few of the sailors were going to escape the ship on a life boat, but the centurion stopped them, listening to Paul’s advice (30-32).  Then the entire crew followed his advice and ate dinner for the first time in many days (33-38).  Finally, when the ship ran aground on a sandbar, the soldiers refrained from killing the prisoners only because the Julius wanted to spare Paul’s life.  When the crew was safely on land, Paul had the freedom to gather firewood and to visit the island official, healing his father.

            This makes me think that, in times of trouble, those with a visible confidence in God impact others around them simply by that faith.  We are in hard times financially and morally, yet harder times may be ahead.  May we be people of such confidence in the sovereign God that others are influenced by us.  May they see our faith, as they did Paul’s, and may we say, as did Paul, “Do not be afraid for God, whose we are and whom we serve, is gracious.”

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  1. […] with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God, touch other lives through my faith in you.  Just as Paul’s faith was visible to others in times of trouble and overflowed to them, may my faith be evident to those around me who do not know […]

  2. […] 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.  I have seen how Paul’s faith touched other lives in times of trouble (Acts 27) and how his blessing for the Romans was that their trust would overflow in hope, joy and peace […]


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