When you become a parent, a curious change takes place in your life. You begin thinking about yourself less, and a large percentage of your time and emotional energy is invested in the care and well-being of your kids. It's a healthy, but difficult process to endure because along the way, you also go from being their hero who can fix everything and can do no wrong, to being the target of a decent amount of complaints and critiques. Somewhere along the way, however, I'm told that your kids start liking you again, primarily when they start having kids.
I regularly tell my children that I'm praying for them. There isn't a single day of their lives that I haven't prayed for them, not because I'm being forced to, but because the Lord compels my heart to do so. The Lord has blessed my wife and me with two daughters and two sons, and we frequently pray about their spiritual growth, physical safety, and future marriages. Along the way, we do our best to impart biblical wisdom to them in the hopes that they will receive it and adopt it as their own.
When I look at Scripture, I see many examples of people who trusted in Christ and used their lives to serve and worship Him. Many of those examples are godly women that we would all do well to learn from. One such example is a woman who was part of the early church and partnered, along with her husband, with the Apostle Paul in his church planting ministry. Her name was Priscilla, and when I look at what Scripture tells us about her, I see the kind of woman that I would like my daughters to copy and my sons to marry.
Let's take a look at some of the interesting things Acts 18 reveals to us about the life, character, and faith of a godly woman like Priscilla.
I. She shows hospitality for the sake of the gospel
If you were going to plant a church, where do you think you would go? Years ago, I knew a man who said he was called to pastoral ministry. When he was asked about where he believed he was being called to serve, his answer stressed that he only felt led to go where his pay would be high and his life would by cushy. When I look at what Scripture tells us about the Apostle Paul's ministry, I see a very different mindset from that.
If you wanted to experience a challenging context in which to do ministry, Corinth was the type of city that would give it to you. It was a city that was known for its rampant immorality and idolatry. It was a place where many people grew wealthy through trade, and it was also a city filled with prostitution. At the time, to be called a Corinthian was often meant as an indicator that you were an immoral person. That's where Paul chose to spend a year and a half preaching and teaching the gospel.
While he was there, he met a married couple named Aquila and Priscilla. Just like Paul, they supported themselves by making and selling tents, so they partnered together in this labor. Aquila and Priscilla were also believers in Jesus Christ, and they offered Paul the privilege to stay with them for a time. This was an important way that believers of that era would help traveling speakers when they would visit a community to proclaim the gospel. They'd give them a place to stay and some food to eat.
Showing hospitality isn't always an easy thing to do. It can be tolerable for a short period of time, but can grow increasingly more difficult when it stretches on for a longer season. I'm sure that it was a challenge at times to graciously host Paul for a year and a half, but for the sake of the gospel, Priscilla allowed this to take place in her home. As a woman who loved Jesus and wanted to contribute to the efforts to make Christ known to others, she showed hospitality for the sake of the gospel.
II. She isn't afraid to work with her hands
When I was growing up, I was amazed at my grandmother, Ruby Huffman's hands. Early on, I noticed that it didn't seem to bother her to run her hands under water that seemed too hot to touch. She didn't have a dishwasher, so I guess her hands grew used to the water temperature after washing dishes for her family for so many years. She also worked in a boot factory in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, helping to sew and manufacture boots and shoes for quite some time.
My grandmother's hands were strong and I was surprised when I also realized that she had no discernible finger prints. The work she did over the course of her life seemed to wear her fingerprints off. (I'm glad she didn't use that advantage to pursue a life of crime.)
I wonder what Priscilla's hands looked like. Were her hands strong? Were they calloused? Did she have discernible fingerprints? Could you figure out how she made a living just by looking at her hands?
I point that out because this Scripture tells us that Priscilla worked with Aquilla and Paul, making tents. It doesn't just indicate that Aquilla was a tentmaker. We're told that as a couple, they made tents together.
This is useful to notice because it's clear that Priscilla didn't flutter around like she was a princess. She wasn't afraid to work with her hands. It wasn't beneath her dignity to engage in manual labor, and I believe she displayed a mindset that godly women of every era should notice. Families benefit from this kind of mindset and so does the local church. Priscilla was a true partner who was fully invested in the ministry entrusted to her.
III. She is willing to go where the Lord directs her
When I was in high school and college, I could sense that the Lord was calling me to serve in pastoral ministry, but I had some objections to that calling that took me a few years to work through before I agreed to do it. One of my big objections was the idea of moving. From what I saw, pastors seemed to move a lot and that didn't appeal to me. I moved frequently when I was growing up and I didn't want to repeat that pattern as an adult. Since becoming a pastor, I'm grateful that we haven't moved frequently and it occurred to me this week that this month marks ten years that I've been preaching to our local church.
Paul's ministry, however, involved a considerable amount of traveling. As the Holy Spirit directed him, he traveled to different cities throughout Europe and Asia, preaching the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. As Priscilla and Aquila partnered together with him in ministry, this portion of Scripture also displays a willingness on their part to go where the Lord was directing them to go.
There are patterns that exist in the way men and women perceive life that tend to be rather consistent. In my counseling ministry, one of the things I have learned about women is that they often express an appreciation for "safety" and "security". Moving to a new area is something I have heard many women express concern over because it can challenge their feelings of safety and security, but at the same time, I have also observed godly women express a willingness to do so when the Lord made it clear to them that this was His calling on their lives. As the Lord made His will clear to Priscilla, we can see from this passage that she was willing to go where He directed her.
IV. She joyfully partners together with her husband
One of my greatest joys about our church family is the presence of the various ministry teams that serve together to do ministry. Likewise, it's a joy when we can see multiple examples of this mindset occurring at home as well. When husbands and wives partner together as a team, instead of operating in a continual state of independence, great things are accomplished for Christ's glory.
After Aquila and Priscilla left Corinth, they settled in Ephesus. While they were there, they sought fellowship with other believers, and they had the privilege to hear a man named Apollos speak about Jesus. Apollos was apparently a gifted, impressive, and eloquent speaker. And while he taught about Jesus and expounded the Scriptures accurately, there were still a few things he needed further instruction in. The impression we're given is that Apollos may have been delivering a similar message of repentance that John the Baptist preached, and Aquila and Priscilla likely took the time to connect more of the dots for Apollos by helping him to come to a deeper understanding of the significance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Please notice, yet again, that this Scripture provides another great example of Priscilla's desire to partner with her husband. They worked together, traveled together, worshipped together, and discipled together. Without a doubt, there was a high degree of love, trust, and respect present in their marriage relationship.
V. She looks for opportunities to invest her wisdom in teachable people
One last thing I want to point out about Priscilla is her willingness to invest the wisdom the Lord gave her in teachable people.
Growing up, my grandmother, Ruth Stange, was one of the wisest women I knew. Her father, James Gallup, used to invest his wisdom in her, and she absorbed it all then tried to invest it in me and the rest of her grandchildren. The way I see things, and many of the decisions I make as an adult, can be tied directly back to the wisdom that my grandmother invested in me, particularly during turbulent seasons of my childhood and adolescence.
I suspect that the Lord used Priscilla in a similar manner for many people during the era of the early church. She was able to invest her wisdom into Apollos because he was teachable and receptive. Her counsel bore fruit. As Apollos continued to preach, he was able to give others a more clear and accurate portrayal of who Christ was, what Christ did, and what Christ continues to do, because Priscilla took the time to share with him the wisdom the Lord had blessed her with. A godly woman takes the time to invest wisdom into the lives of others, for Christ's glory.
All that to say, I realize that my daughters are quickly transitioning into their adult life right in front of our faces. I want them to glean from Priscilla's example because I believe it's also the pattern they've had the privilege to observe in their mother as well. And I know the day will soon come when my sons will choose someone to marry. I regularly pray the Lord directs them to women like Priscilla because she was intentional about blessing her husband, blessing others, and living a life of faith that brought Christ glory. If I'm one day blessed with daughters-in-law like that, I'll be quite grateful.
© John Stange, 2018