By a show of hands (metaphorically, just bear with me), how many of you have heard of – and could tell me about – Priscilla and Aquila?
Probably not many of you. And before you get too ashamed, let me just come out and say that I couldn’t have either before two Sundays ago (one Sunday ago as I’m writing this, but it’s being scheduled in advance :P).
At church, they were preaching about the book of Acts, and funnily enough, when the pastor said that he was going to talk about Priscilla and Aquila, I actually thought he was talking about Ananias and Sapphira – a very different couple from Acts.
(Ananias and Sapphira are the ones who got caught deceiving the church about their donation, making it seem larger than it was, and died for it.)
So, when the pastor said he was talking about a biblical power couple, I was very confused.
But, funny story aside, this sermon opened my eyes to an oft-overlooked “power couple,” one of the only ones we get to see in the Bible. And that’s what prompted me to write this post.
I don’t know about you, but I like to be recognized for what I do. Even if I do something without being asked and something that’s supposed to be a “surprise,” I want the people I did it for to be surprised! I want them to notice. Basically, though I hate to say it, I want their praise.
For example, I’ll sometimes do some chores around the house when I’m at home and my parents are off at work or running errands. It’s unprompted, and it’s just supposed to be something nice that I do for them. (Also, lest you think I’m too selfless and noble, usually this “chore” is vacuuming, and I mostly do it because I enjoy vacuuming, but I digress.)
But when they get back home, I expect them to notice it. I’m just waiting for the garage to open and them to walk in so I can be heaped with “thank yous.”
Not very humble of me, is it?
John’s response to the people going to Jesus for baptism and that affecting the numbers of people who come to him gets me every time. He says:
“It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
John 3:29-30 (NLT)
Whew. Doesn’t that just hit home?
It’s the exact opposite of my line of thought. While I want praise, praise, and more praise, John is saying, “No. Jesus gets all the praise, praise, and more praise, not me.”
And Priscilla and Aquila are a prime example of a power couple who lived their lives running hard after Jesus and have little to no praise to show for it. But, spoiler alert: Jesus got all the glory, and now they’re living in joy and peace unimaginable in heaven with him, so I think they got the good end of the deal.
But, anyway, I’ll get to that later. Let’s first start of with exactly what Priscilla and Aquila did in their lives.
We see them first in Acts 18, in which they welcome Paul into their homes to live with them for a while while he’s ministering to the Corinthians. So, they just literally open their homes to a stranger so that he can share the Good News.
Then, later in Acts 18, Paul leaves for Syria, and guess who just up and go with him? Priscilla and Aquila. They leave behind their home and their lives of the past year and a half (they’d only lived in Corinth for around that much time), and follow Paul on his missionary journey.
Paul ended up leaving them in Ephesus, while he continued on. In Ephesus, we see Priscilla and Aquila take it upon themselves to correct the incomplete teachings of the Jew Apollos. He received their message, and went on to become one of the most famous pastors in the world.
So, you could literally say that Priscilla and Aquila discipled one of the world’s greatest pastors.
Beyond that, they also opened up their home wherever they lived, starting the church at Rome and at Ephesus.
They were running hard after Jesus and produced countless good fruits for His Kingdom. It was clear that the Holy Spirit was in them.
And yet, they’re mostly forgotten by history. Even those who know the Bible really well and have a lot of Bible knowledge don’t always remember who Priscilla and Aquila are.
Later in their lives, these two were even killed for their faith in Christ. Martyrs.
But we still don’t remember them.
And I think they’re perfectly okay with that, so long as we remember Jesus in it all.
I believe they were true behind-the-scenes workers. They didn’t need praise and glory for themselves, but everything they did was for God’s glory and His alone.
And honestly, that should be our greatest desire – to glorify God in all that we do. We should want that more than praise from our friends, family, and coworkers. Rather than looking for a worldly reward, simply glorifying Him should be a reward in and of itself.
That’s hard, I get it. No matter how many times I tell myself otherwise, I still find myself falling into the trap of seeking praise from others. And it continually leads to disappointment.
But abiding in the Holy Spirit and setting my eyes on God? That can never disappoint. It is the satisfaction of my soul, life-giving, humbling.
I like to think that when Priscilla and Aquila died, they would have had the mindset of Paul and would have been more than ready to go see Jesus because their greatest joy and their reward in life had been God’s glory.
And now, in heaven, they get to glorify God perfectly and for eternity.
How awesome is that?