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TRUST JESUS TODAY
This is meant for college students and young working people.
This is a draft of the first chapter of a book on "tentmaking."
I'm still in a quandary on how to make this piece appealing to my target audience.
A Tentmaker’s Heart, Home and Hope
What is a tentmaker? What’s the beating of his heart? What hopes and potential does he have in the advancement of the kingdom of God? In this globalized world, what part does this believer whose trade or profession God can use to reach the unreached cities or enter the semi-closed countries and establish godly homes in closed frontiers?
This book provides an overview of the character, convictions, call and career of God’s tentmakers among the nations. It discusses the tentmaker’s vision and ventures for His kingdom.
A biblical basis of who a tentmaker is can be helpful at this point. Let’s zoom back to the first century Christians and see how a tentmaking couple, Aquila and Priscilla, demonstrate what God can do with a man and a woman whose hearts are fully yielded to His plans and purposes.
In this attempt to reconstruct Aquila and Priscilla’s conversation, feel these tentmakers’ heartbeats and observe their thinking processes. Be inspired of their life of love and kingdom-living that they had chosen to live.
Aquila and Priscilla: Disciplemakers and Tentmakers
“How did I feel about Emperor Claudius’s decision to expel all of us, Jews, in Rome?” Aquila asked Priscilla, his wife. With their weary hands and arms, they cut and sewed two large woven cloths of animal hides into tents.
“Yes, have you figured it out?” Priscilla gently drew out what’s going on in her husband’s heart.
“I believe our loving God is sovereign. Even our expulsion from Rome, no matter how painful it was, is within His sovereign will for our lives,” shared Aquila.
“I could still feel the anguish we felt that night when we fled Rome,” Priscilla replied as she watched her husband cut the woven cloth of goats’ hair at right angles. Priscilla looked at her husband’s eyes and smiled. She helped him cut and said, “You’re right. If it were not for that, you wouldn’t have met Paul here in Corinth.”
“I’m glad it’s not our job or the emperor’s decree that determines where we are,” Aquila spoke with conviction.
“What do you mean?” Priscilla queried.
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus? ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.’” Aquila stopped sewing and glanced at Priscilla. “Is it not our highest joy to do His will and finish His work wherever He leads us?” Aquila reminded his wife, his help-meet and teammate in kingdom-building of many years.
“That privilege of doing His will is mine as well,” replied Priscilla with a joyous glow in her eyes. She reached out to the end corner of the cloth of goats’ hair and pulled another to sew them together.
Aquila pulled the other end to make the sewing of the woven cloths easier and elaborated, “Right where God brings us, He has graciously used us to draw both Jews and Gentiles to the saving knowledge of Christ. I’m just so glad to see people – His church – meeting at our house!”
“Hosting the Apostle Paul and learning and serving God with him is one of those profound experiences we ever had since our expulsion from Italy,” Priscilla reminisced.
“The time we had with Apollos was awesome, too,” answered Aquila with an obvious gladness in his heart.
“What a learned man!” Priscilla commented as she almost finished sewing the cloths of goats’ hair.
The couple gleamed as they remembered Apollos whom they invited to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. They felt so richly blessed that God had multiplied their life of fruitfulness and impact in His service. They felt honored to encourage, support and co-labor with Paul and Apollos and many others who’d come to their home. What a privilege was it for them to host the house-church for fellowship, prayer, sharing and worship of God.
“Done!” Aquila exclaimed as he stretched his tired arms and back. “With half a dozen of these, our merchant friends can sell these sturdy tents to the Roman army.”
“God has provided for our needs and for the needs of His other workers this way,” added Priscilla. “Let’s hurry and prepare for tonight’s fellowship.”
The couple re-arranged their work-area into a fellowship room for the Gentile believers who’d worship God in their modest home.
In the chapters to follow, you will see the tentmaker’s call and unique role in the kingdom of God. You’ll get a glimpse of the joys and battles of a tentmaker. You’ll understand that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show His might in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless towards Him” (2 Chron. 16:9a, RSV). You’ll comprehend that the Sovereign One delights to fill every thread of your being with His own joy and blessings. He invites you to take a significant part in His grand purposes for mankind. He asks you to give your life back to Him -fully and wholly enjoying Him and serving Him in the context of your profession.
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