So, because he (Paul) was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. Acts 18:3
Here I am, back on the road. The New Year has officially started, and the travelling part of my job has resumed. That means less hours to write and keep up with my blog. I certainly wish that I didn’t have to spend so much time on the road and could replace it with something more…important; like writing posts that try to help spread the Gospel, to contribute something, anything to that message.
Then I remembered that St. Paul was a tent-maker by trade. That was his day job, which allowed him his first pursuit, being a Pharisee, and later on his second calling, Apostle for Jesus.
I wonder how many times he might have resented having to make tents, if ever. His passion for the Gospel certainly should have had him chomping at the bit to be “All Jesus, All the Time!”
I certainly would like to be able to be “All Jesus, All the Time,” but one does need to make a living. Paul even used his vocation as an example to others in humility. He made the point at least once that he could ask for their support with the authority of his apostleship, but he wanted no back door whispers. He wanted others to never allow pride to interfere with their own lives and witness to the Gospel.
There were those who did serve as organizers of the gifts given to the early church on a full time basis and lived off the offerings given. Nothing wrong with that. The Apostles themselves arranged that system.
But Paul wanted to give no on any reason to call his preaching into question. He wanted to set an example to those who might succumb to the temptation of laziness.
I’m also reminded of the curse of sin that became Adam’s lot from Genesis 3:
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
I don’t have thistles, but I certainly have barriers and trials in my job, as do we all.
Clearly, I better not quit my day job. Partly, this is my share in Adam’s curse. Clearly, my witness is worthless if I lazily mooch off others. Plus, I’ve witnessed to plenty of people in my travels, whether restaurant workers, hotel staff, or a captive audience in the seat next to me on a flight.
With the right attitude, the right approach, our day job IS our Gospel job!