Tents for Sale!
Just picture it – you’re living in the 1st century A.D. and happen to be traveling in Corinth. Upon entering the city you arrive at the marketplace there and among the cacophony of vendors hawking their wares you hear, “Tents for sale, tents for sale! Get your quality tents here!” For some reason you become interested and approach the tent makers. The craftsmen greet you in an uncharacteristically friendly way and encourage you to inspect their fine creations. And you see that they aren’t lying – their tents are works of art, in function and design. They have a few really exotic tents for those that can afford it, but they also have an assortment of simple ordinary tents that are cheap, yet the quality of workmanship is just as good as the expensive ones. You think to yourself, “Wow, these guys are really awesome!” But how could their tents be anything but awesome…you’ve just seen the handiwork of Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla!
In Acts 18, the Bible records that Paul was a tentmaker, and based upon that fact we may deduce that his father was also tentmaker, just like we may deduce that Jesus knew about carpentry because his earthly father Joseph was a carpenter. During that period of history Jewish fathers were expected to begin teaching their sons their trades beginning at age 12. In actuality, we really don’t know about the carpentry skills of Jesus or the tent-making skills of Paul, but considering that Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters,” I think it’s safe to say that his tents were par excellence!
So, how’s your “tent-making” coming along? Oh…you make tents, all right! Better stated, you clearly do have an occupation. Some of you have part-time jobs, and some of you are students – maybe even full-time. Whatever it is that occupies your time, you should do that to the best of your ability, as if the Lord Himself were sitting at a table in the restaurant where you work, or as if you were turning in a paper for the Lord to read. I challenge you to take what you do more seriously, so that no matter what your tent-making turns out to be, others may have the hope of seeing in you what the writer of Matthew 5:16 hoped for you: “Let your light so shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”