I would like to write about God, family, and serving the Lord. The Bible sets an example before us in Priscilla and Aquila. God uses this example to teach us about serving Him in the midst of our daily lives, especially when we are preoccupied with the cares of daily life. Many people serve the Lord while they are young and single yet once they get married, they seem to lose their zeal and their direction. They get busy with taking care of themselves, their homes, their kids etc. In order to know what to do and how to serve the Lord as a family, I would like to walk through the Scriptures and see what God teaches about this wonderful family.
We first meet this family in Acts 18. I will add a link so that you can read the chapter for yourself.
I. A happy family values serving the Lord through their hospitality.
1 After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, 3 and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. 4 And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 18)
Aquila and Priscilla were kicked out of their homes in Rome. They had just arrived in Corinth when Paul also arrived. They opened their home (new dwelling since they had just arrived themselves) to Paul, whom they probably met while working since they were all three tent makers by trade. They were open to serving the Lord at work where they discovered a need and decided to meet that need by opening up their home to Paul. Little did they know how this would change their lives and help them leave a beautiful legacy. They worked during the week and went with Paul on the weekends to serve. Many times people marry and then get so caught up in their careers that they do not have time to serve the Lord. They may attend church from time to time yet are not really involved. Priscilla and Aquila had careers too yet that did not stop them from serving. They served on the weekends and also during the week. They opened up their home for Paul which allowed him to stay in Corinth to serve on the weekends too. It is evident that they served the Lord while at work because that is how Paul met them. This idea of opening their home for the ministry will manifest itself later on in their ministry. In fact, the hospitality, dedication, and service allows them to plant two churches in two different homes in two different countries.
II. A happy family does not get bogged down in comfort
Priscilla and Aquila had been kicked out of Rome. They had to reestablish in Corinth. Just as they were getting comfortable in Corinth, Paul decided to take a mission trip and offered to take them with him. This was not just a short term two week trip. This was a “we are moving to a new place” mission trip. They decided to go with him.
18 Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow. 19 They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, 21 but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch. (Acts 18)
They were headed for Syria but stopped in Ephesus where obviously a church was planted and Priscilla and Aquila were left in charge to lead and grow the church. They reestablished themselves again and opened their home up for the ministry. The church actually met in their house. Priscilla and Aquila could have said, “we have already moved once. It would be better to remain here in Corinth since we have a place to live.” Yet they left the comfort of a home to go on a long term mission trip. When they reestablished themselves in Ephesus, they could have focused on their family and rebuilding their lives there yet they decided to dedicate their “new home” to the ministry. What about you, are you open to using your home for the ministry? Are you ready to go at a moment’s notice if God is leading you to plant a church?
After getting reestablished yet again in the city of Ephesus, God called Priscilla and Aquila back to Rome to plant a church. Once again, they used their home for this calling.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles ; 5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. (Romans 16)
III. A happy family serves the Lord together
Did you notice in all of the passages that we studied Priscilla and Aquila are always together? They served the Lord as a family, which is very important. That is why they were able to open up their homes to the ministry and new churches were planted. They were used by God in a mighty way even though they had the difficulties that all families have, even though they both had careers. They were not stopped by anything because they chose to serve the Lord together, as a family.
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. (I Corinthians 16)
IV. A happy family studies the Scriptures together
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus ; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord ; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John ; 26 and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 18)
It is clear that they were students of the Word of God because when they heard someone teaching with great enthusiasm yet was wrong in his explanation, they both sat down with him and explained the Scriptures to him so that he could have a correct understanding. They would not have been able to do that if they would not have known the Word of God themselves from studying. Do you study the Scriptures as a family? I started studying “Wrong way Jonah” with my 4 year old daughter. She loves it even though she cannot read or write. She is a journalist and has to discover what happened to Jonah and why and then explain it to the public. I read to her and she draws pictures of what she hears and then goes to her mother to interview her on what she knows about Jonah. She is learning so much and absolutely loves it. Studying the Word of God as a family is such a wonderful activity that brings so much happiness. Make time for it if you do not do this already.
In conclusion, I would like to ask a few questions. Is your home open to the ministry? Do you demonstrate your hospitality by having people in your home to study the Scriptures with you? Are you bogged down with the chores of daily life and too busy to serve the Lord as a family or do you seek to serve the Lord as a family? Are you ready to answer God’s calling to plant churches, even if it means moving? Do you set aside time on a daily basis to study God’s Word as a family? May the Lord bless you as you serve Him as a family which will bring much happiness and satisfaction.