“After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.” Acts 18:1-3 ESV
Through the Bible, Acts 18-19
I came across a fascinating article on the Associates for Biblical Research website about the Isthmian Games, held every four years in and around the city of Corinth.
The Isthmian Games were a big deal, second only in prestige to the Olympics in Athens. Kind of like the World Cup, Corinth was a sports crazy town (think Boston). People came from all over the world to watch the Games, which consisted of boxing, running, the discus throw, and even singing.
This paragraph in particular caught my imagination:
Since there were no permanent accommodations at the site, the people stayed in tents in the surrounding fields. Fixing or selling tents would have given Paul and his new found colleagues, Aquila and Priscilla, ample employment as well as opportunities to share the gospel with those attending the Games.
I know the cliche is “The Lord works in mysterious ways, ” but that isn’t always the case. He also works in obvious, pragmatic ways. How strategic of the Lord to transform a Pharisee from a Hellenistic city like Tarsus into a missionary! He would be able to reason with Jews and philosophize with Greeks. Make him a Roman citizen so he can play that card when he gets arrested.
Oh, and this too: make him a tent maker and send him to a sports crazed city! Even better, hook him up with a believing couple like Priscilla and Aquila, who not only are grounded enough in the faith to teach Apollos, but they can also be an emotional encouragement to Paul.
Then, the coup de grace: make them tent makers too! Then they can work together, fund the ministry, and rub shoulders with thousands of sports fans!
Beloved, what God is doing in your life may not be obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s mysterious. You can trust that He is never capricious, never whimsical, and always purposeful. He is thinking a thousand moves ahead on three billion chessboards, playing every game simultaneously. We can trust that He knows what he’s doing.
And, when we’ve been there ten thousand years, it will be obvious to us, too.