Do you wonder what kind of an impact you’re making? Do you get discouraged when it seems like what’s going on around you might be taking you farther from the goal? When God’s in control, never underestimate the impacts. You may not see them right in front of you, but they are there. Let’s look at an incredible example of this – one that continually blows my mind every time I really think about it.
“…and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.”Romans 1:10-11
In 60 A.D., Rome was estimated to have more than four million people. In comparison, it would be like taking the city of Green Bay, WI and multiplying that forty times over. It would take fifty Lambeau Field stadiums to hold everyone! Paul had been hearing reports on the faith growing among the people and expressed his longing to visit them. Simply put, he was stoked to walk into this great imperial city and put on his preacher show at the Colosseum. It was the city center amphitheater which dreams were made of. Paul made it to Rome alright. But it wasn’t the colosseum he sat in. It was a prison cell. He landed himself on house arrest as a result of freeing a slave girl from a demon (Acts 16:16-24).
For the next two years, the only people Paul saw were the Roman guard and any visitors allowed to him. Can you imagine the discouragement he must have battled, feeling so far from the goal? Hardly a colosseum of people. But he made the most of his time preaching to his captive audience. He also did something quite extraordinary. During his time in prison, Paul wrote four books of the New Testament – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Now let’s get to the really cool part.
Statistically, the Bible is recorded to be the best selling book of all time, with over five billion Bibles in circulation. Combine this with all of the Bible apps, like YouVersion, that people can download for free. Now add in every person who’s ever listened to a message from one of these four books. I don’t know if I even know how to do the math correctly to come up with that number. All I know is, it’s staggering. That’s as scientific as I’ll get on one cup of coffee.
Paul expected to preach to a colosseum of people in Rome, but God had a much bigger plan in mind. The impact from the writings he did there were completely exponential to what he would have ever imagined, and those numbers grow daily! It’s mind blowing, really. Is Paul sitting in heaven feeling disappointed now? I think not.
If you’re working toward the things God laid on your heart, be confident the impacts will be both exponential and eternal, in His timing. If you expect Him to do immeasurably more (Ephesians 3:20), He’ll never disappoint you.