Common Trade

Common Trade

11 February 2010

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 15-17; Acts 18


1 After Athens, Paul went to Corinth. 2 That is where he discovered Aquila, a Jew born in Pontus, and his wife, Priscilla. They had just arrived from Italy, part of the general expulsion of Jews from Rome ordered by Claudius. 3 Paul moved in with them, and they worked together at their common trade of tentmaking. 4 But every Sabbath he was at the meeting place, doing his best to convince both Jews and Greeks about Jesus. 5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was able to give all his time to preaching and teaching, doing everything he could to persuade the Jews that Jesus was in fact God’s Messiah. (Acts 18:1-5 MSG)

I love to think through the details of the story. When Paul got to Corinth, he was nearly broke, so he went to the tentmaking section of town, found the little shop of Aquila and Priscilla, a couple of Jewish tentmakers recently arrived from Rome, and got a full-time job sewing tents and sails. On his day off he preached. When Silas and Timothy got to town, bringing money the churches in Macedonia had contributed, he was able to preach full-time. And stir up a lot more trouble!

Priscilla and Aquila were Christ-followers and proved to be good teachers of God’s word, so when Paul decided to travel back to his home church in Syrian Antioch, they accompanied him. Paul dropped them off in Ephesus to teach and organize and help strengthen the church there and he went on to Antioch. Priscilla and Aquila met Apollos in Ephesus, helped him get a clear understanding of the Good News about Jesus and then he headed out, evangelizing and strengthening the churches he visited.

The Mission: Reach seekers and build believers. The Method: Preach to all who will listen, then teach those who believed. It was all done through a network of relationships that connected and separated, grew and spread, ebbed and flowed. Paths crossed, teams developed, friends said “Goodbye” and the Good News spread. Words that come to mind as I think about these stories in Acts are: Friendships, Teamwork, Flexibility, Flow, Respect, Determination, Cooperation, Simplicity, Organic, Support.


Father, I am so thankful for the stories. I wish you had given us a lot more detail, but then I realize you know what you’re doing. So thanks for the stories. Help me to see in the stories what I need to see to think the right thoughts and reach the right conclusions about life and mission and ministry. Amen.

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