We must find an element about which we can unite before we will ever have united ministry.
Acts 18:3 – And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
Look closely at our Text for Today. I want you to note something that is conspicuously absent. Take a moment and read the Acts passage referenced in our Manna for Today. Note that Paul chose to abide with Aquila and Priscilla. That is plainly stated. But a point that is not stated stands our conspicuously. Note it closely; nothing is said of Paul abiding with them because they were Christians, because they were Spirit-filled, because they were members of the body of Christ, because they were able teachers of the Word, or because they became is close followers to ministered to him greatly. I find it intriguing that while all these things are true according to the Scriptures, the reason for Paul’s dwelling with them was because they were “of the same craft,” that being tentmakers like Paul.
There, do you see it. At the moment Paul joined them in the tentmaking trade, he likely knew little if anything of their testimony, and it would seem evident that he knew nothing of their future involvement with him in his ministry. He joined with them because of their trade. They had that in common. Think of that as we continue.
In recent years, I was doing leadership training in Nairobi, Kenya. I am from a Pentecostal background, but the ministers I was training were non-Pentecostal. In some places in the world where I’ve been, they, in fact, seem to be completely contrary to one another. But they’re not. I said to them, “You and I really can’t get along. You’re of a particular denomination and I am Pentecostal. We really can’t work together.” And then I cited some doctrinal differences. The shock on their faces was evident. But then I turned it around on them. I asked if they believed in Jesus; if they believed in the blood of Christ; if they believed the Bible. To each question, their response was a resounding “Yes!” Then I said, “So, what if, instead of focusing on our differences, we chose things on which we could agree; perhaps just one solid Biblical truth, and then focused 100% of our energies on that work? What could happen?” They got it! The next day in their conference, there were large number of Pentecostal ministers present. They realized that our differences often serve for nothing but to keep us apart. But, if we can find a place of agreement, what God can do becomes even more phenomenal. We have so many differences with so many people. Find a point of agreement, connect there, and release the power of God to make changes that can impact the world.
Manna for Today – Acts 18:1-17; Matthew 18:19-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Amos 3:3; Acts 18:18-26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19