And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. (Acts 28:30-31 KJV)
Many years ago, I remember how I stood before God towards the end of a year, and I asked him for 2 things: SPACE and GRACE. Maybe, it was my penchant for rhyming words, I don’t know. But what I meant by SPACE, was an apartment that I could call my own. Then, I was sharing an apartment with a friend of mine, and I was feeling the need for my own space and privacy. Before that year came to an end, God answered my prayers; and by the 2nd month of the next year, I parked into my own apartment in a neighboring street. Why did I seek the privacy? Well, primarily to have a place where I can teach and disciple younger ones for God.
The space came, though the grace took a longer time to come; and so, I messed up in some areas. However, the Lord really helped me that from that house, many heard the word of God. In fact, I can rarely remember any who came to my house without hearing God’s word. There were conversions, and one baptism in the Holy Ghost that I can remember. I once remember coming back home only to see my room open (because I kept the key where those who were close to me could have access to it), and I met 4 secondary school boys (ss3) praying in my room. They branched straight from school, and so were still in their school uniform. It was almost 30 minutes from the time I returned till they finished their prayers. If you see the amount of butterflies that were in my stomach eh; I was like a man who won a big lottery.
Sometimes during the lockdown, we could have 12-15 youths gathered in my apartment for study and prayers; and to the glory of God, several of them are still following Jesus (though there are battles here and there); and many more are still coming to the Lord. This is not to say that everything was perfect for me (like I said earlier, I messed up big time in certain areas); but I saw a picture of what it is like to present one’s home for the advancement of the kingdom.
This was what the Apostle Paul did with his rented apartment. Acts of the Apostles did not end with Paul on the street, or in a mega crusade somewhere, or teaching in the school of Tyrannus. Acts of the Apostles ended with Paul in his rented apartment (his room), where he continued his work of receiving people and preaching (without shame) the Gospel of the Kingdom.
This is a challenge to many believers today who are living in houses that are (for all it is worth) “self-contain”. This does not mean that the house is a room with toilet and kitchen; rather it means that their house, as big as it is, can only contain their “self” and their relations. They do not see how their house(s) can become an extension of the Kingdom of God in their environment. Thus, they live in their houses for years, and have never seen any need to utilize those houses for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
In the days of the Apostles, they did not have established Church buildings. Most of the fellowships of the brethren were in people’s houses. Thus, being hospitable, hosting people, and having fellowship in one’s apartment were necessary requirements for any serious Christian.
Even today, God still looks for people who will make their houses (even if it were rented) available for the kingdom of God and for the preaching of the Gospel. Of course, it comes with a cost. Sometimes, people will misunderstand you. Sometimes, the traffic of persons coming and leaving your house will mean that your set of provisions may not last more than one week. Sometimes, I discover that some of my young ones have done justice to my milk and chocolate, or to whatever food I cooked; but you know, I will just be glad and happy, because those are young people who are living for Jesus.
AND SO? How long have you lived in your current apartment (whether built by you or rented)? For those numbers of years, how many have come to know the Lord in that house? How many have heard God’s word in that house? How many times have you invited people for dinner and utilized that opportunity to share God’s word with them? Whatever be your answer to these questions, you can rise up today. Rise up and make a commitment to God that before this year ends, in your rented apartment, you must do something to advance God’s kingdom. You don’t have to wait to get the big podium. You don’t have to wait to write on social media so that people far and wide will read. You don’t have to wait to do one big thing or the other. You can start with where you are. You can start with your apartment. Gather the children. Gather the teenagers. Gather the young mothers. Gather the new husbands. Gather those ss3 students, and let the kingdom of God come and let His will be done.
And if you don’t have space, may the Lord give you a space. Amen.
P/S: Please, whatever you are doing with your house (especially if you are single), endeavor to maintain some form of boundaries and moderation, so that your good will not be evil spoke of; and you will not put yourself in a position to be tempted and defeated by Satan.