There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
Thoughts for Today:In our previous devotion, we looked at the moral depravity of Corinth and the courage it took for Paul to enter the city alone. Today, we're going to look at the people God places in our path and how to develop those acquaintances into relationships.
We know God rarely gives us a mission to do solely on our own. So while there are always pieces and parts we need to do by ourselves, for the most part God will place us in relationship with others to help us accomplish His purpose.
Whenever I am on a new mission I always look around for those who God might have sent on the same mission or are looking to join one. Such is the case with Paul. Let's look at how he began "Meeting the Right People" in a city where he knew no one:
* "There he met" -- We know Paul left Athens for Corinth and there he met a fellow Jew, Aquila and his wife Pricilla. I think the sequence is really important, meaning it was after he stepped into Corinth in faith that he actually met Aquila and Priscilla.
* "Who had recently" -- History tells us that the emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome (this was purportedly because of conflicts between Jews and the new Christian faith), and as a result Aquila and Priscilla had themselves only "recently" arrived in Corinth. Many times it is a fellow newcomer that is the best person to join a ministry team. They typically are open to new relationships and opportunities to serve.
* "Paul went to see them" -- Thinking about it is one thing, actually doing it and reaching out is another. Paul went to see them.
* "Because he was a tentmaker as they were" -- Relationships and friendships are usually founded upon common interests; in this case they were not only fellow Jews but tentmakers as well.
* "He stayed" -- It's difficult, if not impossible to develop a lasting relationship with someone if you don't spend time together, that's how you really get to know each other, you stay with them.
* "Worked with them" -- All too often we only do church activities when we are with church people. But Paul worked with Aquila and Priscilla in their business. They got to know each other outside of the typical boundaries we establish within our church family.
Questions to Ponder:Are you having trouble getting connecting and establishing relationships in a new church or ministry? Maybe you've been attending the same church for years but still feel like an outsider. If so, let's review and consider following Paul's simple steps to getting connected and meeting the right people:
1. First, be open to new relationships (leave the safety of your house and go to a function -- perhaps the first meeting of a new season for a ministry team or a new small group opportunity).
2. Look for other newcomers (we all feel the same way when we're new -- the feeling that everyone else knows everyone except you -- you will recognize the "deer in the headlights" look in their eyes).
3. Extend yourself (don't wait for others to introduce themselves, remember they are just as shy as you are).
4. Let them know your interests and ask them about theirs (look for common ground).
5. Invite them to do something with you not related to church (my closest and deepest friendships have been forged as result of spending time together either at work or enjoying a hobby -- scuba diving, golf, skiing, etc.).
God made us to be in relationship with other Christians, yet so many of us have not developed the kind of lasting and deep friendships God intended. If you see yourself in that statement it's probably time to do something about it. We live right now in our own "Corinth" and we truly need the support and friendship of other believers to help us in our struggles. Will you reach out today or will you remain alone in Corinth?