It's well after dark, the snow is starting to fall, and I'm in a boiler room.
"Hand me that, please," he says, motioning to the tool, one that I'm not too confident naming, in my hand.
He's got a little sweat on his forehead as he works, and I think about how many people will now have warm rooms and hot showers because of his work... but they'll never know his name. He prepares a place for people to meet with God, working before they come and after they leave, but they never really know how much work he truly does.
This is ministry.
My husband and I have been working together- at the same ministry- for the past three years. The Camp that employs us has been a lot more than a job- it's a lifestyle, it's our family, it's our nights and weekends, it's our faith in action.
It's our mission.
We're not the only couple that's gone into ministry together- there are hundreds of prominent examples of "power couples" for the Lord. We're not special. In fact, every marriage should be a mission. Every marriage is a ministry.
The Bible tells us about one story of a couple who work in ministry together- Aquila and Priscilla. They are mentioned throughout the New Testament, and while we don't know a whole lot about them, we know that they made a living together as tent-makers, and we know that they did big things for God together.
We can learn some things from this Biblical example of ministry-minded marriage- and their story can help shape how our marriages work.
Five Traits of a Ministry-Minded Marriage
1) We Go
Aquila and Priscilla followed Paul from Corinth to Ephesus- a move that resulted in them meeting and sharing the Gospel with Apollos. Then, knowing that Rome needed the Good News of Christ, packed up and moved again, this time back to their hometown.
They left their homes, their friends, the security that they'd found in the church in Ephesus, and went where they were sent- in their case, to a place they already knew. And apparently, it was a pretty dangerous move- Paul describes how they "risked their lives" for him.
I'm not sure what that looks like for you at this season of life. Maybe it's being willing to endure the hardship of being separated for a while (or a very long time). Maybe it's flexibility in where you're living. Or maybe it's being okay with a ministry that asks you to pack up and go to a new place.
If you're being called to go, remember that we've got a good God, and we can trust Him. He's got big plans for our lives.
2) We Welcome
I'm not much for hospitality, to be honest. I don't do it well. I tend to be awkward and feel inadequate when opening my home.
Priscilla didn't seem to have that issue, or she overcame it if she did. Paul tells us that the church in Ephesus met in Aquila and Priscilla's home- talk about pressure. They used their home in Rome for church meetings, as well.
Opening my home, being hospitable, may be uncomfortable, but it's so necessary in furthering ministry and God's kingdom.
3) We Use Our Gifts
In Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla meet a guy named Apollos, who is a brilliant public speaker. He is a passionate man, and he knows his stuff... except, he doesn't know his Jesus.
Aquila and Priscilla pull him aside and share the story of Jesus with him, care for him, and nurture his spiritual growth. Apollos later is instrumental in leading the church in Corinth and in Ephesus.
Even though our power-couple weren't gifted in public speaking or brilliant language, they changed the world by doing what they did best- community and one-on-one relationship.
What gifts has God placed in each of you that can be used in ministry? Don't worry about the things you don't do well, and don't let your weaknesses limit you. God's given you each gifts for a reason- use them!
4) We Share
Aquila and Priscilla made a difference because they weren't afraid to share their faith. In a time when Christianity was far from popular, they stood up for their faith and invited their friends and neighbors into the saving grace of Christ Jesus.
I don't know about you, but I'm not very good at that. I don't often strike up a conversation with my neighbor that's woven through with the truth of God's love. In fact, I don't really mention God at all in the majority of my conversations.
We all have unique opportunities to share our faith with those around us. Maybe it's a co-worker, a neighbor, a friend in a military family support group- whoever God places in our lives should have no question about Whose we are.
5) We Support
Priscilla is an interesting study in Biblical womanhood, and her role in ministry is hotly debated among scholars. See, even though we don't know a whole ton about her, one thing we do know is that her name is mentioned first (before her husband's) several times in the Bible.
That doesn't usually happen. Usually, the man's name appears first. The fact that Priscilla's name comes first means that she was probably in the primary role of ministry, and her husband Aquila took a less prominent role.
I can kind of see that. In my marriage, I'm the talker. I blab, blab, blab. I'm outgoing and high-strung and ambitious. As far as my work at Camp goes, I'm the one on the phones- I send the e-mails, I'm the voice that many campers hear. Most of our campers don't really even know my husband's name.
That doesn't mean that his work is any less important or valuable. It just means that we have different strengths, different roles to fill.
God uses both of us, each with our own strengths, to further His Kingdom. Paul never mentions Aquila feeling overshadowed by his wife, or mentions Priscilla on her own. He must have supported her piece of the ministry, and she probably greatly appreciated what he brought to the table.
Even though my gifts are so different from my husband's, I appreciate his dedication to the ministry of which we're a small part. That's why I spend evenings at Menard's scoping out deals on drills. It's why I often find myself stacking firewood or clearing leaves in the cold.
Every marriage is a ministry- whether within the walls of a church, the walls of a charity, or the walls of your home.
How does your marriage work in regards to ministry? Do you have a formal ministry, or do you live out your callings in different ways?
DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging habit, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. You may see a full disclosure by clicking on my "About" page. I will only promote products that I use, enjoy, or take a shine to. All opinions and reviews are my own and are not influenced by any compensation I may receive.