It was hot and humid on the platform at Narni, North of Rome. John Sargent and his travelling companions were stuck, having missed the connection North to Siena. While the rest of the party fussed and fumed, pacing the platform, Sargent got out his paints and turned a delay into a masterpiece.
What do you do when delays threaten your plans. Not just the little delays of traffic jams and missed trains, planes and automobiles, but the big stuff?
Paul has been in prison for two years, held by Felix who knew he was innocent but wanted a bribe. He turned the delay into a masterpiece, instead of frustration. It’s been well argued that he wrote the letters to Philemon “now, also a prisoner”, Ephesians and Colossians while in prison in Caesarea between AD 58-60.
Felix is disgraced and sent back to Rome and Festus, who Josephus holds as more upright, takes over. Immediately he visits Jerusalem and meets the Jewish leaders who want Paul sent back for trial. Festus says yes and no – yes to the trial, no to it being in Jerusalem (can’t let them have everything they want!). For Paul this could be more frustration – the same old, same old. But it is instead another opportunity for a masterpiece of God’s grace. As the Jewish leaders come Festus is swayed, maybe he should go back to Jerusalem, so Paul wisely appeals to go to Caesar.
- Satan is against God’s servants.
- God works to protect and use his sons and daughters.
- God’s perspective is different to ours – the whole situation to human eyes looks like a comedy of errors and yet it has been and will be an opportunity for the gospel to be preached to Gentiles, Kings and Jews. In the end the whole of Caesar’s household gets to hear the gospel (Philippians 1:12-13).
Our greatest opportunities for ministry often come disguised as frustrating and confusing circumstances.
We get to turn a delay into a masterpiece. Realise this, that your life is a masterpiece of God’s grace. Use everything that happens to you as an opportunity for God to be painting a masterpiece of His grace in your life.