When you think of a position of influence, you typically think of some kind of leader. Could be a political or military figure, or perhaps a famous celebrity, or even a Pastor. The common theme for just about anyone that quickly comes to mind has something to do with their particular ‘rank’ in their area of life. Chances are you typically don’t think of a prisoner.
Yet that is exactly what is going on with Paul in Acts 27. Paul was a prisoner being delivered to stand before Cesar. “And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.” (Acts 27:1) Luke was his personal physician and traveled along with him. We learn later that between the crew, prisoners and other passengers, it was a large group. “We were in all 276 persons in the ship.” (v 37)
Despite the fact that Paul was a prisoner, he still held an elevated position some how. “The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for.” (v 3) Even after Paul and Luke were transferred to another ship (under other guards and leadership), his unusual favor still continued. He was even in a position to advise the crew and other prisoners (although they did not fully listen to him at first). This lack of respect was expected considering he was a prisoner. “But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.” (v 11) But the lack of respect did not dissuade Paul.
Paul was not in a ‘position’ of influence, but he was a ‘man’ of influence, not because of who he was, but because of whom he served. “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship” (v 23). Paul did not require a ‘position’ to be an influence among men, 275 other men in this case. Rather than gaining influence through his position, he was granted influence through his Lord.
The end of the story ends with “not a hair is to perish from the head” of any of these men traveling with Paul. His endless worship of the Lord gave him the influence to impact people, even when he was a mere prisoner.
What is your current lot in life? Does it offer less influence than perhaps you had hoped or dreamed of? There is temporary influence in position, but eternal influence by serving the one true Lord and Savior. By serving Him always, you will be given influence over others. By always seeking to glorify God in everything you do, that influence may even give you the opportunity to witness to others and see their life impacted for eternity.
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