And because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. (Acts 18:3)
Verses 1-5: Along with his friends Aquila and Priscilla, Paul was a tentmaker by trade. I picture him sitting in the shade of a tree, stitching together the leather panels of a new tent. He begins to think, “One day this new tent will become weathered and worn out, and it will have to be replaced…sort of like my body…when I die God will give me a new body, a brick house in comparison to this shabby old tent I now occupy!”
Verses 6-10: He stops his stitching to pull the corner of the panel, stretching the leather to meet the seam, and he thought of all the ways life had stretched him to the limit. Two feelings begin to rise up together in him: courage and homesickness. Courage that his future was certain in Christ, but homesick for heaven. Paul saw himself as a man on a journey to eternity. His compass pointed heavenward. His aim was to arrive at his final destination having taken each step by faith, having pleased the Lord by accomplishing his mission, ready to stand confidently before the judgment seat of Christ.
Verses 11-21: Paul stops his work to interact with a potential customer, trying to persuade him to buy a new section to enlarge his tent. He is a good salesman and the quality of his work speaks for itself. He writes up the order, takes the down payment, and continues his stitching. “I find a certain satisfaction in talking about tents and persuading people to buy what I make,” he thinks. “But my greatest satisfaction comes when I get to talk about Jesus; when I persuade people to receive the gift He has already purchased with His death on the cross. There is nothing like sharing the gospel with a person who is lost in sin, urging them to be reconciled to God (made right with Him), and then seeing them — right before my eyes — become a new creation in Christ! That is my passion and my purpose! The love of Jesus that transformed my life rises up in me, compelling me to compel others to be saved!”
With that, the tentmaker can resist no longer — there is a young man across the way exiting one of the many pagan temples, and he appears to be troubled. He has found no answers at the feet of an idol. Paul lays aside his tools and hurries toward him. He has a spring in his step, a fire in his heart, and a story to tell…