Paul was an early church missionary and the apostle to the Gentiles. God used Paul to heal a crippled man in Lystra, to cast out an evil spirit in Philippi, and to raise a boy from the dead in Troas. He started churches, preached the Gospel, and wrote thirteen books of the New Testament.
In the midst of Paul’s unprecedented contributions to the cause of Christ, Acts 18:1-3 tells us that he continued to work as a tentmaker:
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 the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
Why was Paul’s tent making so important that it is recorded in the Bible for all of us to know? Consider the following:
Paul was a full-time Christian missionary whether “on the job” making tents or preaching in the streets. After accepting Christ he did not abandon his tent making craft. Rather, he used it as a means to advance the kingdom of God, and the same holds true for you and your craft. Making tents allowed Paul to come in contact with all sorts of spiritually hungry people whom he would not have met otherwise.
Workplace Christians are full-time missionaries at their places of employment.
The fact is God can use you to be his on-site missionary at your job. Your work puts you in the world—Christianity’s frontline—where you can be God’s salt and light to others. Paul didn’t compartmentalize his life between the secular and the sacred and you shouldn’t either. All Christians are equipped to declare the praises of Jesus Christ—every day, everywhere, and at any time.
When giving us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” “Nations” used here doesn’t refer to separate countries with borders, it refers to peoples or tribes. You do not have to quit your job and get on a plane and fly to another country in order to do missions work. You can be God’s missionary to the peoples and tribes where you work, and this mission field is within daily commuting distance from your home.
In addition, 1 Corinthians 9:14 makes it clear that ministers are worthy of being supported by the church: “The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”
However and in Paul’s case, he chose to support his missionary work through his work as a tentmaker—Paul did what he could to pay his own way so others wouldn’t have to. By doing this he freed-up funds from the local churches that could be used in other ministries.
Your employer pays you to show-up and work. So, do a great job, earn a good living, and be an exemplary employee while modelling the character of Christ. As a workplace Christian you are a full-time, self-supporting minister of the Gospel to your coworkers.
First Timothy 2:4 says God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Your presence in the workplace is part of God’s plan for the salvation of others.