And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
We all know there are typically two types of attitudes people display in life, those who are viewed as optimistic and those who are viewed as pessimistic. You’ve heard the test of whether someone sees the glass as half empty or half full. While that is a generic way of describing the viewpoint, it is really not a good a way to describe the difference between the two.
A truer definition describing the difference between the two might be: A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, while an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
When Paul faced difficulties, he seemed to always find opportunity quickly. Think about some of Paul’s circumstances: He was almost killed by a mob in Jerusalem, imprisoned on numerous occasions, shipwrecked, given thirty-nine lashes and numerous other circumstances we would never want to face. However, Paul always found opportunities for witnessing regardless of circumstances.
Paul’s words were not some dry theological or political speech, but instead heartfelt explanations from personal experience. We can all learn things from the way Paul snatched opportunity from the jaws of difficulty. He was courteous, spoke with deep conviction, and always found a way to glorify Jesus regardless of what he was facing.
Jesus appointed His disciples to tell people everywhere about Him. The message from Paul never changed, only the way he delivered it. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:20-22:
“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”
Our message and method is to be like Paul’s, tell all people who Jesus is, what He has done in our life, what He offers, and what He demands, but do so recognizing the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Agrippa walked away from the encounter above, knowing exactly what it was Paul was aiming at. We are not responsible for the reaction of those we share with, we are only responsible for sharing what Jesus commanded. With this in mind, we need to look for the opportunity in every situation, especially the opportunities filled with difficulty.
Jesus reminded Paul of this when He said, “…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
It is when we seize opportunity in the difficulty, Jesus is glorified