Did you know that the most prolific writer of the New Testament was a jailbird? Paul was imprisoned on several occasions because he persisted in preaching the gospel. While serving time in a cell, Paul learned patience and resourcefulness, which carried God’s message through the bars of his prison and out into the world. For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
How did it happen? First, Paul focused on the needs close at hand. While he was captive, he captivated his caretakers with stories of Jesus. Rather than pining about those he couldn’t reach, he touched those at his elbow with God’s love.
Second, Paul kept problems and persecutions in his short-term memory and God’s purposes in his long-term memory. He accepted God’s plan for his days, even if that meant he spent them in prison. He kept his mind on the eternal picture.
Most of us feel at some time like we’re stuck in prison—stuck behind bars. In the days when we’re mothering babies and stuck inside a house, or buckled into the chauffeur position in the car, or cemented into the roles of provider and nurturer, it’s easy to feel incarcerated! But in the midst of “captivity,” God can use us to captivate others.