Monday, August 15, 2016

Pulling together - Priscilla

Our lady this week is an awesome example of teamwork. Whether we're married or single, young or old, we are part of the team that is tasked with spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ! Am I right?

(I see your heads nodding.)

This week's lady is called Priscilla. And we find her story in the book of Acts. This is the first place that she and her husband are mentioned. Let's look at chapter 18:
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 
11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
We see them again, further down in the chapter:
18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.

This book is known as "Acts," or "the Acts of the Apostles." But I think we would be more accurate, more to the point, if we said this book was about the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Are we in agreement? (Grin)

We see in these pages men and women who were not superstars. Not highly educated. Not popular. Not wealthy. Not powerful. But they accomplish mighty things!

And this couple we meet in the passage above were ordinary people, too. Here's the difference that made their lives exciting, and made them extraordinary: they were willing to be used by God. They were perfectly willing to "pull together" with others, to accomplish God's work.

Verses 2 and 3 in chapter 18 mention that they were husband and wife, and also that they were tent-makers. They were personal friends of Paul, and labored with him:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: (Romans 16:3)

They were "sold out" for God; they were so fully invested in His work that the local believers called Priscilla and Aquila's home their church.
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. (I Corinthians 16:19)
And we know that at some point, they had risked their own lives for Paul and the other believers.
Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.(Romans 16:4)
These were not super-saints. They had no fan club. They were not featured on the cover of any magazines for their efforts. They were not like Paul, or Peter; they had different gifts. But they were willing to pull together. They were willing to serve.

We can learn a lot this week from them!


Belinda said...

You know, they must have lost revenue while on mission. Being willing to do that is not a common occurrence, especially in today's society. And working together in accord for the Kingdom must have made their marriage stronger...or at least I like to think so.

Looking forward to seeing what the Lord wants us to learn from Priscilla.

Ramblingon said...

I am always awed by the devotion we read of. Awed.