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“Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth, and found a certain Jew named Aquila…” Acts 18:1-3 records the Apostle meeting a very dedicated husband and wife gospel team named Aquila and Priscilla. A very special bond is established between this married couple and the Apostle Paul.
Jewish boys were trained and taught in a trade that could serve them for a lifetime. Paul, as young Saul, had learned tentmaking. Aquila, too, was skilled in the art of tentmaker. Certainly this occupation opened the door for Paul in his initial acquaintance with Aquila and Priscilla. The Scriptures comment on this by stating “…because he was of the same craft, he [Paul] abode with them…,” that is Aquila and Priscilla. Acts 18, along with Romans 16:3-5; I Corinthians 16:19, and II Timothy 4:19, complete the information surrounding Aquila and Priscilla. That said, the focus here is that the Apostle Paul, as well as Aquila and Priscilla, were skilled tentmakers.
Keep that bit of biographical background in mind and note Mark 6:3 concerning Jesus: “Is not this the carpenter…?” – referring to Jesus himself who learned the skill and trade of a carpenter.
There is a maxim which says, “He who teaches not his son to do some work is as if he taught him robbery.” The biblical examples of Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla lead us to our “tentmaker” topic.
The Voice in the Wilderness ministry is a “Faith” work. As Dr. Thomason put it, we have no grants, endorsements or funding outside of the free will offerings and faith giving of God’s generous and gracious people. It has been this way for much of my 40 plus years of ministry. Just as Jesus (carpenter) and Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla (tentmakers), Ronnie and Terry Williamson have taken the skills and opportunities the Lord has given to earn finances for day to day expenses as well as free up funds for special needs.
The following is a personal testimony of a special “tentmaker” friend of The Voice in the Wilderness.
Outside of my ministry, I work a full time job as a route driver for a major company in Greensboro [NC]. I have been working at this job for over two years and it has actually been helpful by being able to work 4 ten hour shifts and have the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off. This helps because it gives me more time to do things with my family and in the ministry. Since I recently was informed that I would be having surgery on my knee, they gave me a new employee to train to take over my route while I was gone. Well, I knew this would give me a lot of time to establish a relationship and get to know the new employee that would be assigned to my route. His name was Jewel, and he was truly a great person with good manners. This was different (considering the line of work I have been in the last two years). I found out that he was raised with good strict parents who had great morals. I think he also has good manners because he respects preachers and everyone let him know whom he was riding with before he started. We spend at least 3 to 4 weeks getting to know each other and established a friendship that will last a life time. I went out for surgery and when I came back, I knew that I would only have about 4 to 5 more weeks with him on my route. I gave him a tract before I left and told him to read it and think about what it meant to him. When I got back the questions began to come in rapid-fire form. I knew then that God had truly been dealing with his heart. The second day I was back, I confronted him with the question, “Are you 100% sure if you died today heaven would be your home?” He looked down quietly and said, “I am about 80% sure.” I then told him how he could be 100% sure right then in the truck. He replied with an, “I will have to think about it.” So I invited him to church the next night to teen service even though he wasn’t a teen. He showed up and came into our teen service, and that night I just so happened to be preaching about the urgency of knowing Christ and reaching people for Christ. He was the first one down the aisle that night to ask Jesus into his heart. He went home that night and told everyone what he had done. That next Sunday he invited his family from Raleigh to see him get baptized. He truly has been growing in the Lord and is excited about what God has in store for him and his family. I shared this story for all of us to remember that we can be a light in this dark world, at work, in public, and anywhere we go. If we will just take the time to look at the lost and dying souls all around us in our daily activities of life, we may not have to go far to find someone who needs Jesus in his heart. Let’s remember the word of Christ in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Rev. Nolan Wynn)