When you read the accounts of Paul’s ministry there are a number of things you learn about him, his character and his personality. He was immensely practical, very humble, unafraid of what others might think, wise, very well educated and open to explore the opportunities God put before him.
In the previous chapter we learned that Pauls’ ship was wrecked and now we know it was off the coast of Malta. Paul, having been washed up on the shore with other survivors, was busily making and sustaining a fire to keep them warm after their traumatic landing. It was during that task that he was bitten by a viper which he seemingly shook off into the fire suffering no ill effects. But that apparently insignificant detail spoke to the people of Malta. It opened a door for ministry that we might not have seen had Luke not thought to add it to his account. Suddenly Paul and his party were more than just survivors of a shipwreck they were people who had something others needed. Doors opened, the gospel was shared, people were healed and Paul was taken care of.
Months later Paul was back off to sea to complete the trip to Rome. He was still under arrest and still under guard but not fazed by any of it. In fact Paul saw his incarceration as an opportunity to share the gospel and no doubt a good part of his testimony with those who came to the house where he was kept.
I think the point for us is that there are always opportunities to share God with people. We don’t need to be gifted preachers or evangelists but we do need to see the opportunities that God puts in front of us. I hope none of us need to be bitten by snakes to achieve what Paul did but even in hardship and trial Paul saw what God was doing and without fuss or bother shared what he knew of God. May it be so with us too?
Look at the details Luke includes in Acts 28. The snake, the collection of brushwood, the name of the ship to Rome. What do those details add to the story? What do they tell you about the things that God was doing through Paul?
Lord God, open our eyes to see the things you are doing around us. Bless us with the same vision Paul did and strengthen us to share what we know of you without fuss or bother. Amen