“Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:2-3).
Paul concluded his first visit to Athens with a powerful message that drew the following response: when Paul left the Council “a few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others” (Acts 17:34).
We might not think he was very successful in this outreach to Athens, but when we remember Christ’s perspective this was significant! One soul saved is worth more than all the wealth of the world. And can you just hear the angelic choir in heaven rejoicing?
His stint in Athens must have taken a fair amount out of Paul. When he went on to Corinth he limited his outreach efforts to those attending the synagogue on the Sabbath. The rest of the time he worked at his trade, joining Aquila and Priscilla in their tent-making business. This relationship with them lasted for years as they went with him to Ephesus and then eventually back to Corinth. They were active lay workers in the church, often hosting it in their home.
Paul’s network of friends and supporters increased wherever he went. He worked at building this network so that when he again launched into ministry full time he could count on them to stand with him. He needed such support because it seemed wherever he went he faced opposition and often fierce persecution.
In addition, as he confronted continuous opposition in Corinth God gave him special encouragement, as seen in Acts 18:7: “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you…because I have many people in this city.’”
Are you building a network of friends who can help and encourage you in times of need?