There are so many ways we can serve God together as a married couple. Our gifts, abilities and life situations can help us see opportunities and possibilities for how we can help others. We can also learn from others’ examples. Such as one specific couple in the Bible who served together throughout their married life.
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” – Romans 16:3-4
This week we continue our study about how God has brought us together as a couple for the purpose of serving Him and others. He has gifted and equipped us to do the good works He has planned for us to do as a married couple. And He provides all we need to do this.
We looked last week at how we can know the ways God wants us to serve Him by discovering how He has gifted each of us. This points us in the direction He wants us to go. There’s a good chance, for example, that God doesn’t want you to serve Him by forming a Christian musical group if neither of you can sing or play an instrument.
So what gifts and abilities has God given each of you? What things do you love to do together? What things are you passionate about? What touches your hearts? This is a good place to start to determine what God wants you to do.
The great thing about being a follower of Christ is that we don’t have to worry about how to use God’s gifts to impress other people, or to make lots of money, or even to make this life more comfortable. You see, we serve a Savior who said about His own purpose: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He later made that our purpose as well when He said in Matthew 23:11: “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus didn’t just teach this with words, but also by His actions. He did it throughout His ministry. And He taught it to His disciples (and to us) during the Lord’s Supper. John 13:1-17 tells how Jesus did what only a servant should have done–He washed His disciples’ feet. By this, He demonstrated what He had been teaching.
Then He taught again in John 13:12-17: “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Jesus is our Master who served and continues to serve us. He tells us that we are not greater than Him. If He was willing to serve us with His life, how can we do less for Him and others?
As we live our lives, and live out our marriages in this self-centered world, we need another view—Jesus Christ’s view. We do this by finding opportunities to serve others together as a couple.
Learning from This Bible Couple
I want to end this week’s teaching by giving an example from God’s Word of a couple who sought to serve God and others together. This couple is Priscilla and Aquila. We find their ministry in the New Testament. They are part of the life of the early church, and we always find them mentioned ministering together.
They are first mentioned in Acts 18:1-3: “After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”
We learn from this that they were not renowned preachers, teachers, or leaders. They were tentmakers. But they were committed followers of Christ who had been forced to move because of their faithfulness to Him.
How did they serve God in this passage? They provided a place for Paul to live, and a job for him as he ministered in Corinth. Impressive religious work? Hardly. Vital to God’s plan, the early church, and Paul’s ministry? Absolutely.
Paul was in Corinth for about 1-1/2 years as part of what we have come to know as his second missionary journey. He probably wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians while he was there. Silas and Timothy rejoined him there. And God used Priscilla and Aquila to make all of this possible.
We learn in Acts 18:18: “Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila.” Acts 18:19 says: “They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila.” Once again, the couple was together, willing to leave their new home, and serve the Lord together in a new place.
While they served the Lord together in their new home of Ephesus, God used them to help Apollos, another early leader of His church. He was an excellent speaker, but his message was incomplete, and, therefore, not fully accurate. We read about him in Acts 18:25: “He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.”
God used Priscilla and Aquila to minister to Apollos. Acts 18:26 says: “He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”
Only three more times in Scripture is this faithful couple mentioned, all in Paul’s letters. Paul writes about them in Romans 16:3-4: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” And in 1 Corinthians 16:19: “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.” Finally, Paul writes these simple words in 2 Timothy 4:19: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.”
From these short passages, we learn that Priscilla and Aquila are still together, serving the Lord and others together as one. They do not see their house as their own; it belongs to God for His work. Their lives are not their own; they belong to God for His work, even if it means physical harm or death. They believe God has brought them together to serve the Lord and others.
They were not worried about being significant, important, or rich and famous. If you want your life and marriage to have significance, don’t seek significance from the world. Serve God and others, and you will have significance where it counts – with the Lord. Then you can say with Paul at the end of your life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Questions for Discussion
- Read together this week’s teaching. Focus especially on what God’s Word has to say. Discuss what things God spoke about to each of you. Discuss how you might put these things God has revealed to you into practice together.
- What specific opportunities might there be for you to “wash feet” in your arenas of life? Discuss specific ways you can follow Jesus’ example this week and in days ahead.
- What lessons did God teach you about your marriage, and how He might use it to serve Him and others as you read about Priscilla and Aquila?
- Close with prayer, asking God to help you be servants like Jesus, and to make your marriage a life-long instrument of His like Priscilla’s and Aquila’s.
Next week, I’ll share how some couples that Sabra and I know are living out God’s Word today by serving Him and others in their marriages.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways
Other posts in the SERVING GOD TOGETHER series:
Part 1–Made for Good Works
Part 2–Keeping Him First in Your Life
Part 3–Using Your Spiritual Gifts
Part 5–Finding Ways to Serve
Part 6–An Inspiring Example
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Sabra Penley.