In Acts 18:1-3, we are introduced to a special couple who Paul found in Corinth on one of his missionary journeys. Because they were of the same craft, they had an instant connection with Paul; by occupation, they were tentmakers. Due to that common bond, Paul lived in their home and ministered there for about a year and a half. This couple turned out to be a huge asset to Paul's ministry and overall for the cause of Christ.
As I thought about the trade of tentmaking, it dawned on me why these two tentmakers were able to make such a difference. Let me give you three quick common sense observations about how tentmakers could utilize what they knew about tentmaking and apply it in their ministry:
- They were accustomed to following a pattern. Making a pattern would be the quickest and most accurate way to produce quality tents. While Paul was in their home, he taught the Word of God, the Biblical pattern. In verses 18-19, we find that when Paul left Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla went with him and made their home in Ephesus. It was in Ephesus where Paul leaves Aquila and Priscilla to start their own church in their home (I Corinthians 16:19). When Paul left them in Ephesus, they simply copied the pattern. By doing so, this couple proved to be of great value as they ministered in their local area as well as in the regions beyond them.
- They understood the cost of business. I'm sure as successful tentmakers they had to take risks, accept losses, bear heavy burdens, and adjust to the changing culture. Obviously, this carried over into their lives as believers. In Romans 16:3-4, Paul makes this request: "Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: ..." These tentmakers were willing to assist Paul in the spreading of the gospel even if it cost them their lives (verse 4).
- They knew what it took to see the job through. The Bible doesn't tell us how many tents this couple made, but I do know this: If you don't make tents, you don't eat. Paul was so grateful for Aquila and Priscilla that he writes, "... unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles." Although the Bible doesn't say how many people were affected by this couple, this sounds like a couple who knew how to accomplish the task and influence others in the process.
These two tentmakers made a difference by their willingness to go where God wanted them to go, yielding to His will for their lives. They used their talents and abilities gifted to them by God in order for others to hear the gospel and to live for God. I am reminded by this passage of the many who work full-time jobs in addition to fulfilling a ministry in the church. They are simply following the pattern of Scripture, accepting the cost, and accomplishing great things for the Lord. This is just a reminder that you do not have to be in "full-time" ministry to make a difference for eternity.
Written by Dale Money