The Sum is Greater Than the Parts: Living the Priscilla & Aquila Life in Ministry

Posted: October 25, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Roman 16:1-16 — In this passage, which is kind of a roll call of the superstars of the early church (kind of like when a racer thanks all his sponsors during a single post race interview), we hear two familiar names, Priscilla and Aquila. These two are mentioned prominently in Paul’s writings not just here, but, in total they are mentioned 6 times in the New Testament. They were always mentioned together and never individually. What can we learn from this?

I think the first thing that we learn from Priscilla and Aquila is that ministry is a husband-wife team effort. The fact that they are only mentioned together kind of tells you that they were their most effective when they were together. How often do you see it in today’s society that husbands and wives do their own things and rarely give much effort toward joint activities. How often do you see it that when this happens that the marriage falls apart? How often do you see it in couples that one is committed to the Lord and very active while the other is not? In these situations, you think to yourself, how effective would this couple be if both of them were on board? Priscilla and Aquila were both on board. They were sold out for Christ. They opened their home to Paul in Corinth. They held church in their home in Rome. They risked their lives for Paul. They helped finance his ministry. Together, the were pretty awesome. Ministry calls a couple not just the husband or the wife. In order to minister effectively, the husband and the wife must be called together. Think of the ministers you most admire. In every case, there is a minister’s wife standing with him that makes their ministry all the more powerful. What if Amy Hickman was not sold out for Christ, Jeff would not be as effective of a minister that he is. They minister together. Let us always remember to pray for our pastors’ wives as much as we pray for our pastors. They are called just as much as their pastor husbands are. It has been said that being a pastor’s wife is the toughest job there is. The husband and wife are a pastoral team just as Priscilla and Aquila were. May we be so effective in our ministries that they mention us only together. As Christ is united in the Holy Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, may we be united as couples serving the Lord. May we become one together serving the Lord to the point that it would be unthinkable to mention one without mentioning the other.

The second thing that I think we learn from mention of Priscilla and Aquila together always is the fact that they must have complemented each other so well. I would imagine that they were always mentioned together because they each had strengths and weaknesses. Where one was weak the other was strong. Where one was strong, it offset the weakness of the other in that area. Alone they were not as effective. Together their sum was greater than their parts. Together, they created traction where by themselves they could not. This is probably true in any marriage, but it is particularly so in a ministry couple. Elena is strong on details and works hard to make sure things happen when they are supposed to. In this area, I am weak. She compensates for my weakness. On the other hand, I have the ability to visualize grand ideas and think of things that haven’t been done before. This compensates for Elena’s discomfort with charting unknown waters. Together, she zigs for my zags and I zig for her zags. We make a good team in that way. This is why it is so important for it not just be the pastor. It must be the pastor and pastor’s wife. Together. God orchestrates bring pastoral couples together so that where he is weak she is strong and vice versa. Together, we are more effective than we are apart. Just as the church is more effective together than individual church members. We all have talents gifted us by God. We all have weaknesses. In God’s grand design of the church, it is certain that there is someone in the church who is strong where you are weak and vice versa. Together, we are more effective in presenting the gospel to the world. Let us be humble enough, as Priscilla and Aquila apparently were, to recognize our weaknesses and allow others who are strong in that area to flourish there. God is glorified when His people humbly work together in the areas that each was made by God for.

Father, in heaven, we give you glory for the way that you make this intricate universe work together in unison. You are the Creator of all things. You orchestrate the symphony of life. You also orchestrate bring us together as ministry couples. You and the Son and the Holy Spirit exist eternally in completeness together. Father, please help us as ministry couples to work together and in unison such that are names are always mentioned together. Father, you orchestrate bringing men and women together that complement one another as husbands and wives and as the people of your church. We thank you for teaching us about recognizing where we are weak and praising those who are strong in those areas. Help us to understand our weaknesses and strengths so that together as ministry couple and as churches we are stronger, more effective witnesses for the truth that is the gospel. Amen.

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