One of these days I’m planning to write a few blog posts about ‘work’ and the biblical way to think about it. This is not that day, though perhaps this coming winter I’ll find the time to tackle that task. In the meantime this post will have to do.
So what do you do when you seem to have a compelling desire to be actively involved in Christian ministry and it seems that one of your spiritual gifts is in the area of teaching but God hasn’t seen fit to place you in an “official” capacity in a church or other Christian ministry? And what if you also have a God-given entrepreneurial spirit and drive.
I suppose you could do what I’ve done and start a construction company (9 years running next month) and just recently, a website design, development, and hosting company. Coupled with those ventures you could also start (plant) a church (which I haven’t done) or get involved in a church plant that’s only a couple years old (which I/we have done).
And what if you feel compelled, for whatever inherent reason, to categorize yourself? Hmm. Now the apostle Paul was a tradesman who worked his tail off, wrote a large chunk of the New Testament, and started lots of churches. But Paul was an apostle first and foremost, and I most certainly am not.
But Paul didn’t go it alone. He had many helpers and partners in the work of the Gospel, and Aquila and Priscilla were two of those who Paul leaned on heavily. He probably even worked for them for a couple years as an employee or subcontractor.
Now there’s something to think about. Aquila and Priscilla, tentmakers (or leatherworkers), small business owners, and residents of Rome who also had business locations in Ephesus and Corinth, which is where they met Paul and joined forces with him. Or he joined forces with them. The distinction may be a minor one.
What do we know about them? For one thing, they didn’t give up their business or their trade when they started following Jesus Christ, which I’ll venture to say is God’s design for the majority of his people. (Ever hear the term “missional”?)
They also apparently knew their stuff. Remember in Acts 18 when they were in Ephesus and they met Apollos? Apollos was a good preacher and competent in the Scriptures, but he hadn’t arrived yet. So Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and filled in some essential gaps in his knowledge of Christianity. And Apollos, to his credit, was humble enough to accept “religious” instruction from a couple of businesspeople.
We encounter them again in Romans 16 when Paul says to greet them for him, describes them as his fellow workers in Christ, gives them credit for risking their lives for his sake, and then greets the church that was meeting in their house.
Business owners, tradespeople, and Paul’s “fellow workers in Christ.” Now there’s an example that’s realistic and worth following.