Paul met them in Corinth but they were originally from Rome. Paul had come to Corinth to preach the gospel, they had left Italy because of persecution. And while they were all descendants of one of the tribes of Israel, what really bound them together was their occupation, as in what they did for a living, and their occupation, as in the focus for what did with their lives. They were all tentmakers by trade and they were all pursuing the kingdom of God by grace.
I’m wrapping up 1Corinthians this morning and the names of these co-workers of Paul are put on my radar again.
The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.
(1Corinthians 16:19 ESV)
This morning I’m noodling on Aquila and Prisca, or Priscilla. Lesser known saints. But enough known about them to be inspired and encouraged. And enough known about them to be reminded that so often God uses “the muckers.”
Muckers. The term, for me, refers to those players on a hockey team who aren’t the stars . . . whose talent isn’t anything particularly spectacular . . . but who can be counted on, shift in and shift out, to put in a solid effort and do the non-flashy stuff in order for a team to win. They are the grinders. They are the hard workers. They are the ones that will go into the corner after the puck, again and again, and dig it out.
Their names are on the backs of their jerseys, but no one is going to pay a lot of money for their hockey card years from now. They’re the everyday, average players. Nothing special, but so needed and relied upon. They’re the muckers. And, I think, so were Aquila and Priscilla.
Tentmakers, but not just tentmakers. Tentmakers who opened their home, and their shop to Paul when he came to Corinth (Acts 18:1-3). Tentmakers who up and left any roots they had started to put down in Corinth in order to accompany Paul on his missionary journey (Acts 18:18). Tentmakers who knew the way of God well enough that, when they encountered a young upstart preacher who knew his Bible but didn’t really grasp the gospel, “they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Act 18:24-26).
Tentmakers who Paul considered “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” and who “risked their necks” for Paul’s well-being . . . to whom not only Paul was indebted “but all the churches of the Gentiles” as well (Rom. 16:3-4). Tentmakers who regardless of where they were “pitching their tent” opened their home as a gathering place for Jesus’ church (1Cor. 16:19).
Aquila and Priscilla . . . a man and wife team who sought to earn an honest days living while seeking first the kingdom of God.
Muckers. Not widely known on the earth, but highly regarded in heaven. They don’t have the place in the history of the church that Paul or the other apostles have, but their names are written in the book of life and their reward awaits them at the Bema seat of Christ (1Cor. 3:12-14).
Muckers. Not anything flashy but so inspiringly faithful. Not in it for the glory of self, but constrained by the goodness and grace of God to serve wherever and however God would have them. Not pulpit people, but people of the Word and the way.
Thank God for the muckers.
While many of us may never know the calling to public ministry, while for most of us the measure of grace given us in our gifting will never be considered extraordinary by man’s standards, might we be faithful to the call to be grinders for the kingdom . . . to be willing to earnestly venture into the non-glamorous work of the kingdom, even if others never notice . . . to run the race set before us steadfastly and with joy. Knowing that God delights in the muckers.
Because of grace. Always for His glory.