April 23, 2012 – A Unique Ministry and Opportunity
3 Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 Who risked their lives [endangering their very necks] for my life. To them not only I but also all the churches among the Gentiles give thanks. – Romans 16:3-4 AMP
I felt like the past few days that God was leading me to write a blog about the life of Aquila. He was a tentmaker who Paul met in Corinth while on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:2). It just so happened that Aquila and Paul were both tentmakers, so Paul spent quite a lot of time with him working their trade together. But there was a problem in the blog I felt like God was leading me to write. Aquila is never talked about in Scripture alone.
I spent quite a lot of time searching the Bible and not once did I find mention of Aquila without his wife Priscilla being brought up as well. Today’s verse calls her Prisca, but that is merely a Greek variation of the name Priscilla which we are all more familiar with. In fact, with the exception of when we first meet this happy couple in Acts Chapter Eighteen, Priscilla is always listed before her husband. One footnote in a Bible in my desk suggested that she had a higher social status than Aquila or could have even had a more prominent role in their marriage or in their ministry.
Let’s look at Priscilla and Aquila’s married life together. Aquila was a native of Pontus, a Roman province located along the Black Sea in northern modern day Turkey. When they first met Paul, they had recently moved to Corinth from the city of Rome because of Emperor Claudius’ eviction of all the Jews living in Rome. The three of them stayed in Corinth for eighteen months after that first meeting.
When Paul decided to leave Corinth, Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him to the city of Ephesus. They set up shop in Ephesus and stayed there as Paul continued his circuit to Jerusalem and back to his home base in Antioch located in modern day Syria.
But Ephesus was not their last stop. As we see from today’s verse, Priscilla and Aquila were back in Rome, making tents and actually hosting a church in their home. Then, as we put more pieces in the puzzle, about ten years later, as Paul had been imprisoned by the wicked Emperor Nero, they had returned to Ephesus as Paul asks Timothy to give them greetings (2 Timothy 4:19).
Now you may not see what a couple of traveling tentmaker missionaries has to do with any of us. Well by no means am I suggesting that all married couples should ride the country making things and spreading the Gospel message. In this day and age we would more than likely be called gypsies rather than ministers. My point today has more to do with identity than ministry.
Today’s stereotypical married couple often looks like a convenient arrangement than a marriage. Both husband and wife many times work separately outside of the home and are forced to shuffle their busy work schedules around each other and their children. Sometimes both husband and wife are so busy trying to provide that they have to rely on relatives to step in and take care of their children on many occasions. The husband has his set of friends and the wife has hers. And if they have to be at social events together you will sometimes find them in opposite corners of the room. They are living a life together in the eyes of the world, alone in their hearts, and each has their own individual identity.
Priscilla and Aquila were not like that. They worked together. They ministered together. They were truly one in that one of them is never mentioned without the other. Now I am by no means saying that if you and your spouse don’t work together that you’re both destined for hell. I’m just saying that Priscilla and Aquila had a unique opportunity and they made the best of it.
God has placed this opportunity of Priscilla and Aquila proportions before Marlo and me for years. And for years I took it for granted. I was the selfish husband who did his own thing then woke up one day to see babies who were turning into teenagers and a wife I really didn’t know. I had that unique opportunity and nearly let it slip away.
Now God has moved us into a ministry through the Revelation310 Foundation by trying to help people who have been victims of spiritual abuse. It may sound kind of absurd to some, but I can assure you from personal experience that spiritual abuse is very real and can ruin churches, marriages, and even individual lives. So you see, God has not only given me a unique opportunity to work side by side with the best friend I’ve ever had and the love of my life, but He has also given us a unique ministry in the process.
What about your marriage? Do you see your marriage as a convenient arrangement or as a unique opportunity? Believe it or not, God has trusted you with your spouse for life. Why not make the most of what He has trusted you with? Why pass up such a glorious opportunity? In this opportunity, do you ask God to use you for His glory, or do you ask Him to use you and your spouse together in a unique ministry? Priscilla and Aquila did both. You may not traverse the glove like they did, but think about it a minute. How much more can God do through the two of you than you just trying to do things by yourself? Thanks Marlo for sharing this wonderful life, opportunity, and ministry together with me.
It is a unique ministry and opportunity indeed! Many ministers' marriages are not what they ought to be. What do you expect from their members? Thank God you noted the prominence of Prisca. This is in line with Proverbs 14:1. You can confirm this in your wife who is not an enemy of peace in her home and your ministry. It is sad to note that 'ignorance' plays a prominent role in not having such a unique ministry. Monthly Mothers-In-Israel Summit organised by our God-given ministry has proved this. Many women do not know that they have ministries. Thanks for the good work. Stay blessed and rapturable!