Have you ever been around someone who talked about only one thing? Maybe sports or politics. Or clothes, movies, or books. And then a few just like to talk about other people.
Paul was like that, I think, or at least he had one thing that dominated his conversations. He spent quite a bit of time in jail, and it’s interesting to think about what it must’ve been like to have been his jailer, or maybe his cellmate.
I’m sure they talked about some of the stuff that everybody talked about—the emperor’s economic policies, who’s looking good for the upcoming chariot race, and everybody’s favorite: the weather.
But I can almost guarantee you what Paul’s primary topic of conversation was. Read what he writes from one of his jail cells:
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ (Philippians 1:12-13).
Notice Paul says that his imprisonment for Christ had become known throughout the whole imperial guard—those are the people guarding him. And then there’s this verse at the end of the letter: All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22).
Do you see the implication? Paul wasn’t sitting around carving pictures in his jail cell’s wall, and neither was he spending all of his time shooting the bull with other prisoners.
He was telling everybody within earshot about Jesus. The whole imperial guard knew. Paul had led some of Caesar’s staff to Christ.
I think it was probably quite difficult to spend too much time around Paul without getting an earful. An earful of Christ.
What did most of the prisoners talk about? How bad the food was? Which bed was most comfortable? How soon they were going to get out?
All the while, Paul shared the good news of Christ.
I suppose most of us are guilty of not being as vocal as we should be. It’s easy to talk about the weather (“Is Spring finally here?”). Or sports (“My team’s going to be very good this year.”). Or movies or books or politics.
Not so easy to talk about Christ.
Perhaps this challenge would be good for us all: Wherever you are right now, pause for a few seconds and ask God to give you the courage to say a word about Christ this week. Then make the commitment—at some point today decide that you’ll bring faith up in a conversation.
God will open the door, and if you’re looking, you’ll see it. If Paul could talk about Christ to his prison guards, surely you and I can do it with a friend, co-worker, or neighbor.