Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Leading Ladies: Priscilla

If you have been keeping up with my podcasts, you know that I am fascinated with 1st century life. I love thinking about what life would have been like for those people we read about so often in our New Testaments. I especially enjoy thinking about what it would have been like for the women of the Bible, and one such lady is the topic of our discussion today.

We don't know a lot about Priscilla. She is only mentioned in a few verses, and yet we can learn so much from these few words. In keeping with our Leading Ladies theme, let's explore a few of Priscilla's characteristics that we can imitate in our own lives.

1: She picked good friends. There are only 3 verses that mention Priscilla by that name (Acts 18:2, 18, 26), and yet there are three other places in inspired scripture where she is mentioned by the name Prisca (Romans 16:3, 1 Cor. 16:19, 2 Tim. 4:19). If you're anything like me, names mean a lot to you. When someone gives you a nickname, it is special. For instance, I really don't like it when people casually call me Em. I just don't. Why? Probably because all of my life that is what my sisters have called me, and thus I reserve that nickname for people who I am close to. When my closest friends call me that, I don't mind. Total stranger, well it's a little weird! With this logic in mind, I truly believe that Priscilla and Paul had a wonderful friendship. Casual acquaintances don't generally refer to each other by nicknames, and yet Paul speaks of saluting 'Prisca' on three separate occasions.

Truly this is a characteristic we must implement. Friends make or break you, and that is just a fact of life. The times in my life that I have been the farthest from God are the times in my life when I have been the closest friends with people of the world. On the other hand, the times in my life when I have been the closest to God, those are the times when I have had great Christian influences and encouragers in my life. The Proverbial writer said, "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray" (12:26). Truly we do well when we surround ourselves with faithful Christian friends, and Priscilla was an amazing example of that.

2: She was involved in the Lord's work. I often hear people making excuses as to why they are not involved in doing the Lord's work. Priscilla does not strike me as one who would be making excuses. Instead, in Acts 18 when we find her with her husband, Aquila, she is teaching Apollos. She is not standing idly by. She is not off busying herself with the tent making. Instead, she is out with her husband doing the work of the Lord.

Maybe you are a preacher's wife like I am, or maybe you are simply the wife of a faithful Christian man (and good for you!). Sometimes it might be easy to think we're doing good works simply because our husbands are. Don't be fooled by that, though! Each and every individual Christian is required to be a servant and to spread the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). It isn't enough for your husband to go visiting or for your husband to conduct a Bible study. Get involved! In the 1st century, Priscilla was only one of many women doing the work of the Lord---we can see that from passages like Acts 8:4 which tell us that the Christians who were scattered ALL went about teaching and preaching. Still, Priscilla is a great example to us in that we should be out doing as much as we possibly can for the Lord.

3: She put God first. Maybe you are unaware, but Robert and I moved a few months ago. One thing I learned from the experience is: moving is NOT fun. Packing and unpacking and wrapping in bubble wrap and wrapping with tissue paper and unwrapping and forgetting what's in each isn't very fun. Living in a mostly packed up house for a month--not fun. Nor is it fun to get a new house full of boxes and live that way for a bit longer. It's inconvenient and difficult and....we even have all of the modern day comforts like uHauls and packaging tape and cars!!

You may be wondering if I've forgotten I'm talking about Priscilla, and I have not. I just think it's interesting that the first time we hear about Priscilla she's in Corinth making tents, then she's in Ephesus teaching Apollos, then she's in Rome risking her neck for the cause of Christ. This girl was on the move! And yet, in every instance that we hear about this 1st century family moving around, it has something to do with the gospel of Christ. Truly Aquila and Priscilla were wonderful, inspiring laborers in the Kingdom.

How often are we willing to behave like that? It is so hard for me sometimes to step out of my routine and do something I know I should do. It seems that my life gets wrapped up in an already-full schedule and I just don't make time for some of the things I need to do to spread the gospel of Christ to those around me. If I were more like Priscilla, willing to put my entire livelihood on the line and pack up and move simply because I could be a more effective servant elsewhere--I truly believe I'd conquer the sin of worldliness that way!

I need to be more like this faithful sister. I need to choose great friends to be around, involve myself in the Lord's work more, and put God ahead of my own convenience.

*For more on Priscilla, check out my podcast THIS Thursday entitled Ephesus.

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