“Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:24-25
Paul and Silas viewed their difficulties as opportunities to connect people to Jesus Christ. They never forgot or allowed themselves to be distracted from their calling as a follower of Christ…they were “fishers of men.”
They had just been attacked by a mob and beaten with rods for casting a demon out of a slave woman. She had served her masters as a fortune-teller and the owners of the slave viewed this miracle as a quick end to their profit-making business. Thus, they had Paul and Silas arrested by the authorities and thrown into prison.
Paul and Silas had done the right thing. They had done what the Lord had commissioned them to do. They had represented Him well. But, as a result, they were unfairly and unjustly treated. That did not stop them.
Now, they’re in prison and they resolutely stayed true to their mission as “fishers of men.” Rather than complain about their woes and even contemplate giving up, they sought to make the most of this moment.
Their joy and strength were maintained by their devotion. They were not going to be guilty of complaining and treating God with the silent treatment, even in prison. They had not committed themselves to be followers of Jesus only so long as it was convenient or painless. So they sang, prayed, and worshipped there. It kept them focused and prepared them for the next divine appointment and open door…a prison guard and an earthquake.
Have things not worked out as you anticipated? Have you found following Jesus to be personally costly? Perhaps this is just the moment to remind yourself that Jesus told His followers to “take up their cross and follow Him.” He wasn’t talking about wearing a cross shaped necklace, but rather accepting an instrument of death and execution.
Following Christ involves death to self and an unwavering commitment to serve Him. Jesus is seeking to save those who are lost. Serving Him means that we are committed to His agenda. That means “fishing for men”…even in the rain.