The apostle Paul takes three long missionary journeys. Every one of them depends on the gracious hospitality of others. When he arrives at the city of Corinth, at the end of his second trip, he finds a couple who welcome him with open arms.
Like Paul, Aquila and Priscilla are tentmakers, so Paul joins them in their business in exchange for his room and board. It must have been a wonderful arrangement, because he stays with them for eighteen months. They become such close friends that when Paul leaves Corinth, they go with him to Ephesus. Because the writer of Acts includes these verses in the narrative of the early church, these details are meant to convey more than Paul’s calendar. We learn that friendship is essential in the work of Christ’s people.
Some people just have the gift of hospitality. My wife, Sherry, and I recently returned from a trip to Oregon where we stayed with friends for a week. When we left their home, I commented that our friends are bountifully blessed with this gift. They welcomed us warmly but also gave us space to do our own thing. They served us delicious meals, listened gladly to tales of our grandsons, and seemed genuinely thankful to have us in their home.
This was the ninth time we’ve traveled to Oregon to see them, and we never tire of making the trip. And, though I can’t say this for certain, our friends never seem to tire of our company. They have become our Aquila and Priscilla. Friendship like this is an essential gift of God’s grace.
When have you been the recipient of hospitable friendship? How has that nurtured your faith? When have you extended hospitality to nurture others?
God, thank you for the Aquilas and Priscillas in our lives. Give us the sensitivity and opportunity to show hospitality to others. Amen.