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Aquila and Priscilla -- Helpers in the Lord

(Acts 18:1-4, 24-26; Romans 16:3,4)

Lesson 13 -- first quarter 2003
February 23, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications

Only helpers?

"Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus" (Romans 16:3). What a description to have recorded of you in the Scriptures! Sure, it lacks eloquence and substance. At least, it certainly seems to . . . until you read it in the context of God's Word and the principles of His kingdom. When we realize that God puts a high premium on servants and helpers, when we realize that God's kingdom operates on the principles of love, selflessness, humility, and service, then we catch on that Priscilla and Aquila received a powerful, substantive tribute.

We do not know the full extent or nature of this couple's helpfulness. We know that they helped Paul by providing him a place to live and work while he was in Corinth. We also know that some of the help they gave him was risky and self-sacrificial. The Bible does not elaborate on this latter example of help, though it must have been widely known in their time: "unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles" (Romans 16:4). Aquila and Priscilla also helped Apollos perfect both his understanding and his message. Then in 1 Corinthians 16:19 we read that they helped by providing a meeting place for the church in Corinth. And there you have the extent of the Biblical examples and hints of their helpfulness. However, the limited nature of the Biblical record does not detract from the fact that these folks had a heart for service and helpfulness that others knew about and appreciated.

Still, someone could mutter in the confines of their heart, they were only helpers. They didn't get any major positions or assignments. I mean, it seems like that's all I'm ever destined to be -- just a poor little helper. I want to be way more than that. I want to do much more than that for Jesus and His kingdom! Oh my friend! If those mutterings even only faintly echo those in your own heart, you still have a skewed world view. If you still find yourself thinking of servants as only helpers (poor little ones, at that), then I urge you to meditate on verses like the ones the follow.

"Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister" (Matthew 20:26).

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).

"He that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:5).

"God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrews 6:10).

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who . . . made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:5-7).

After reading these verses I again arrive at this conclusion: Servanthood is a major assignment! Do not feel sorry for Aquila and Priscilla (or whoever is reading this right now) because they were (are?) only helpers. In the kingdom of Christ there is no greater calling, position, or opportunity!

A teachable teacher

Apollos challenges me. No, I'm not talking about his being "an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures" as well as "fervent in the spirit," teaching "diligently the things of the Lord" (Acts 18:24,25). Sure, those factors are challenging enough, but they serve to make his openness to being corrected and taught even more striking (Acts 18:26).

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