Full Time Ministry

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. He found a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race, who had recently come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome. He came to them, and because he practiced the same trade, he lived with them and worked, for by trade they were tent makers. He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.         Acts 18:1-4 (WEB)

I’ve been looking today at Paul’s employment.  How did he survive while he traveled in ministry?  I first read about Paul in Acts 8:1 when he was “Saul” and a persecutor.  Was he paid by the synagogue leaders to carry out their orders of persecution?  Was he a rabbinical student and did the persecutions as a ‘volunteer’ born out of his fervor?  Rabbis were expected to have a ‘trade’ or means to support themselves so it is also possible that Saul was a tent maker in the ‘family tradition’.  OR he may have learned the trade even after he became Paul and needed a means to support himself in order to do the ministry that Jesus had called him to do.

Here in Acts 18 I am told that Paul is a tent maker just as Aquila and Priscilla.  He finds a couple that he can ‘connect’ because of a mutual trade.  No doubt that Paul shared the Good News because in Romans 16 Paul calls them “fellow workers in Christ Jesus”.  Paul speaks of them again in 1 Corinthians 16 as being with him and in 2 Timothy 4, Paul sends them greetings.  Paul used his trade as another vehicle to share the Good News.  He did not compartmentalize his life but lived his whole life as an opportunity to serve God.  Guess that is why he said:

Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Romans 12:1 (WEB)

My whole life is about worshiping God.  If I am to be a disciple of Jesus, I am a disciple 24/7.  I walk in His steps at work, at home, and on every path between.

Being “in full time ministry” does not always mean that I will have a bi-weekly paycheck like I had as a nurse.

[Jesus said,] “Remain in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Don’t go from house to house.”           Luke 10:7 (WEB)

Yes, Jesus, I agree.  Whether I am in, what I will call “organized ministry” where I contract with a church or school and I receive a paycheck from them to do the ministry, or whether I am like Paul and “freelance” and go about the road I am given and receive “offerings” and “gifts”, I am a worker and I deserve a wage.  Not everyone feels that way and so I must have a “tent making trade” like Paul.  AND rather than see that as a burden, Paul shows me that it can be an opportunity to share the Good News once again.  Rather than ‘whining’ about the work, I can rejoice in this “spiritual act of worship”.  God always has a plan and I am learning that when I am willing and obedient, I can take part in a blessing that just keeps on giving.

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2 Responses to Full Time Ministry

  1. Help us spiritually and support our young church.
    Jane from Kenya.

  2. Nice, thanks! Maybe you can do a follow up post about it?

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