Friday, July 29, 2016

The Priscilla and Aquila Band

“Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:3-4)

         We meet this wonderful couple in Acts eighteen, where Paul did, in the city of Corinth. Besides their mutual love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they shared the same vocation with Paul: tent making. However, this did not keep them from finding time to give instruction and encouragement to the influential orator and apologist, Apollos, and opening their home to their local church for services (1Cor. 16:19). Paul, in this excerpt from his letter to the church at Rome, does not hesitate to say that they would have given their very lives for his, adding that he was not the only one beholden to this precious couple. In fact, all the Gentile churches were indebted to them.

        And their band has not yet died out, thank God. There are still those who manifest the all-important gift for helping, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28. My husband and I have had friends and co-laborers like this all though our years of service to God—in our two pastorates, as missionaries in Northern Ireland, during the years of itinerant preaching, and even now in these last ones of writing, counseling, and intercession.

         I think now of those who stood by our side in times of sickness, need, sorrow, and yes, like Paul, even physical danger. People like the good deacon and his wife who sat and prayed with my husband in the hospital waiting room, after the doctor came out and told him he was finding it all but impossible to stop the life-threatening bleeding, after the birth of our daughter, Charity. Then there were those wonderful women who were willing to baby-sit at odd hours and inconvenient times; and secretaries who were everything from office-managers to chauffeurs and dry cleaning “pick-up-ers.” The hard-working men who simply said to my husband, “What do you need, Preacher?”…. and meant it. And, oh, the blessed encouragers, who always assured us we were God’s good gift to them, when all the time, it was really the other way around.

        Down through the years, we have had prayer and financial partners whose loyalty has been nothing short of impeccable. Their generosity has well outsized their small number. They have, quite simply, given a face to the word, “faithfulness.”

        These saints of the “Priscilla and Aquila Band” may not receive adequate recognition here, but we can be sure their faithfulness has not gone unnoticed in Heaven (Heb. 6:10). Nor have we forgotten. And, God willing, our gratitude will out live us; because, during all those years, our children were watching, as well.

“Thy friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not…” (Prov.27:10a)

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