Here’s a question for you: Can you tell me which of the apostles made his living making
tents? The answer may surprise you: It was Paul!
Paul is considered perhaps the most important teacher out of the apostles. He traveled
all around the Middle East and Europe. He was in and out of prison on numerous
occasions, and he even survived a shipwreck. He wrote more than half of the books that
make up the New Testament. He preached the gospel in palaces and throne rooms all
the way up to the Emperor of Rome.
And yet Paul still had to go to work and make a living—making tents!
A lot of Christians have the mistaken idea that if they’re not a full-time minister or a
Christian singer or in some other full-time ministry position, they are of no use to the
Lord. The Bible tells us that’s just not so. Paul is one of many people in the Bible whose
primary income came from a regular job.
Paul wasn’t the only tentmaker serving the Lord either. The book of Acts and Paul’s
letters make several references to a married couple, Priscilla and Aquila, who were
tentmakers. As far as we know, Priscilla and Aquila didn’t travel, and they probably
never preached before a king. But they were important teachers in the early church,
instructing not only new believers, but also their fellow teachers of the gospel!
Being a full-time minister is a special calling, and it’s not for everyone. God chooses
who he wants to serve in those positions, and those people face enormous scrutiny and
pressure being in those positions.
For those who aren’t called to full-time ministry, there’s still a calling to teach the gospel,
to love others, and to be the living presence of Christ. God wants us to do whatever
work we are given—from homework to being a doctor to riding a garbage truck—as if
we were doing it for the Lord. And as Aquila and Priscilla show us, God can use anyone
who chooses to serve him right where they are!
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