A painful illness had prevented Bible teacher Billy Walker from carrying on his active schedule for several months. He told a group of men that he especially missed being able to preach, but that God was teaching him throughout his recovery.

One day during his illness, as he meditated and prayed, Billy’s attention was drawn to the passage about Paul’s shipwreck on Malta recorded in Acts 28. There is more to the story than Paul’s miraculous immunity to a venomous snakebite (vv.3-6).

This great apostle to the Gentiles, preacher to thousands, worker of miracles, and writer of much of the New Testament, was stuck on an island as a prisoner. Did he lie back and bemoan his condition? Did he think he should be treated better than others because he was an apostle? No! The Scriptures tell us that he chose to contribute to the work and needs of his fellowmen. It was cold and rainy, so Paul “gathered a bundle of sticks” for a much-needed, warming fire (v.3).

Perhaps you’ve been set aside for a while due to difficult circumstances. Maybe you’ve reached the time in your life when vigorous activity is no longer possible. Don’t despair. Remember Paul’s example, and do what you can do—even if it’s simply “gathering sticks.”