Some people love to receive attention. If they do something for someone they needed to be appreciated more than just being thanked. Image and fuss means more than the “giving” and how the giving can be used to help, be it to a person, church or mission activity. I am pretty certain those who have been named in the Bible, should they have seen the documentation naming them would have been humbled and maybe embarrassed.
Servants of God don’t seek the glory because glory alone belongs to God! God’s people ought to be delighted that we have the privilege of serving the God of Creation, the Lord of the Universe and the King of the Eternal Kingdom. Perhaps we could say … our glory lies in serving Jesus.
The reason for me saying this is because I don’t think Priscilla and Aquila would have boosted and gloried in the fact that their names are mentioned so often in the New Testament. Let’s continue with their story …
1) Priscilla and Aquila were ready to die for Paul.
Ro 16:4 They risked their lives for me.
The relationship between husband, wife and Paul developed beyond the brothers and sister in Jesus type. They served the Lord together, they worked making tents together and to me it seems as though Paul was mostly likely a spiritual father to them. On the other hand, they were key to Paul’s missionary activities. The word “risked” means that they were prepared to die for Paul. It is to that extent that they were prepared to stand for Paul … but in fact they were actually standing for the Gospel. In putting their life on the line they were actually serving the Lord Jesus.
I am not and will never suggest that any believer do what they were prepared to do, but some will be prepared and many have done so, especially in countries where Christianity is persecuted. A possible lesson to learn is that far too often there is fighting (politics) in the church. Some people want to get their way and unless they do they resort to all sorts of ungodly tactics. The lesson is that we pray and talk and try our best to put the Gospel first and work together for the Gospel. Let our service and our relationships be sacrificial. This is what proves real Christianity in action.
2) Priscilla and Aquila served the greater church.
Ro 16:4 Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
Although the Gentile Church were grateful to them, being grateful shows that this husband and wife team were not only focused on their local church, they had the Kingdom at heart. The Bible does not explain how they helped and supported the church, but as business people I would suggest there was financial support, prayer support and as we will see soon, doctrinal and theological support (training and discipleship). We live at a time where the economy is down. People are losing their jobs. Our one neighbor has been retrenched after working for the company for 10 years. With this in mind the amount of money available to tithe and then contribute to other church is not going to happen easily … but we can prayer and offer our expertise, be it manual or clerical or perhaps theological education.
3) Priscilla and Aquila had a house church.
Ro 16:5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Although having a church in their house does not mean Aquila was the pastor, but because of what we have seen and will see again, their relationship with Apollo included discipleship … so I would suggest Aquila was the pastor or at least one of the elders of the church. A house church is one of the most intimate ways of doing church. When we started a church on the West Coast, we started in our house. The first service had four adults and 5 children. Once we moved to another town, still doing house church, we grew to fifty adults and quite a few children. We used to have fellowship meals almost every Sunday. Then we moved into a rented building. It was a good move for growth but we lost that intimacy. Priscilla and Aquila used their house for believers to gather. You get the picture they were giving, caring and evangelistic. If there is no reformed and evangelical church in your immediate area and you find it hard to travel to the closest one, why not consider starting a house church and link up with a church you are happy with so that you as a house church can exist under healthy authority? Now read these verses again:
Ro 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Notice another two issues that we have not considered in these verses …
4) Priscilla and Aquila were self-sacrificing for the apostle Paul. Naturally the Gospel was at the center of their sacrifice but the agency God used to spread the Gospel was Paul. They were ready, eager and prepared to do whatever they could to make Paul’s ministry as easy as possible. As a retired pastor (yes, I have the great privilege of pastoring a church at present), I have the experience to say that a hard working pastor needs support. I have had a few good men and women around me who help significantly in reducing my work load. In the church I had two men, one a warden and another a church member who were especially close to me and helped me by praying for me, giving me advice, counsel and encouragement. At times the warden would listen to my suggestions and disagree with me, giving his reasons why. That is support, protection, encouragement and motivation. This is what every hard working pastor needs. Pray that God will provide pastors with good Biblical support.
5) Pricilla and Aquila were loved by the churches. The word “grateful” in verse 4 may also be translated as “thankful” for something that was consecrated. Combining these concepts together you arrive at “love” The churches really appreciated them to the point of true Gospel love in Christ Jesus. May it be that we as believers love those who serve the Kingdom for Jesus sake and ours.
Our Father, thank you for including this couple and their Gospel service into the Bible as a model for us to copy. Please raise up many Pricilla’s and Aquila’s for Gospel service for Jesus sake. Amen.