When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
As I marveled at this outcome from a sequence of events originating with the tragedy of a shipwreck, I was left with this thought: “We just can’t out-bless God.” Sometimes God decides to bless us with divine intervention (no lives were lost from the shipwreck or viper bite, and Publius’ father and others were healed), and other times He just blesses us through the generosity of others. Unfortunately, tragedies (storms, shipwrecks, viper bites, dysentery, etc.) are intertwined with the blessings.
The trap for many of us is when our lives are interrupted by a problem, we stop right there (or jump ship), and as a result never have the opportunity to experience the blessing God has planned. So what’s the key to finding God’s blessing? I think it is in our efforts to be a blessing to others as we are being, or waiting to be, blessed. Look at Paul: he encouraged the sailors with a word from the Lord in the midst of the storm; he gathered firewood though he too was wet and tired; and he was willing to visit Publius’ sick father to lay hands upon him. Look at Publius: he was willing to build a bonfire with the other villagers to warm the survivors; welcome prisoners, guards and sailors into his home for food and shelter; and furnish Paul and his companions with supplies for their voyage. God certainly blessed each and everyone involved: from the survivors of the shipwreck to the villagers who were healed. However, Paul and Publius didn’t sit around idly — they were busy being a blessing to others as they too were being blessed. This is the “circle of life” in God’s economy.
Are you in the middle of your own tragedy right now? I know it’s hard, but look around. Is there anyone to whom you can be a blessing? I know when we are sick or hurting, when money’s tight and it’s a struggle to make ends meet — that is when it is most challenging to be a blessing. But it is also the time the Lord is calling upon us. Will you be a blessing? Who can you bless today? Just remember, you will never be able to out bless God.