Imagine if Saint Paul used social media.
"Hey friends! It's Friday Introductions on Thursday, because I'm hosting a tent DIY workshop tomorrow. All are welcome! I'll even tell you about that time the Lord knocked me off my horse. I love to tell stories about the Lord, so you'll probably hear more than one. Here's a bit about me:
+ Paul, Apostle of Lord
+ tentmaker by trade
+ was once blinded when God knocked me off my horse
+ letter-writer in my spare time
+ also: currently working to spread the Word to the Gentiles
What's your story?"
The popular social media "Friday introductions" brings me so much joy. My favorite introductions reveal something vulnerable or unique about the person—something that helps me make a connection and know that person in a new way.
I cannot stop thinking about Saint Paul as a tentmaker. This detail escaped my attention for years and now I'm floored by what it reveals to me.
Besides being a passionate evangelist, Saint Paul was a normal person like you and me who worked with his hands. As a tentmaker, he probably practiced perfect stitches and appreciated a quality material. He knew people, and he knew the needs of people who used tents.
Saint Paul's conversion didn't mean the end of tent-making. In today's reading from Acts (see Acts 18:2-4), his trade became a point of common ground from which to build community with other believers.
Common ground is a building block for building community. As a woman who moves frequently, I feel the need for community and common ground deep in my being. When I learn that an acquaintance also runs, or quilts, or enjoys homemade kimchi like I do, I feel connected.
Even the most trivial bit of common ground helps form and deepen relationships.
And those relationships go deeper. Paul didn’t stop with a friendly visit and small talk while working. He evangelized.
I’m inspired to ask the Holy Spirit to anoint my relationships and the time I spend with people. He can use any detail as an open door for me to share the Word with someone else. Or maybe when I share my heart, the Spirit can move in that vulnerable space and someone will mentor me.
I’ll be looking for common ground, where the Spirit can move and grow beautiful friendships, where we build each other up in the Lord. Let's be on the lookout together, sister.
Are you looking for deeper woman friendships? Consider starting a Blessed is She community group.
Gina Fensterer finds daily life to be perfect for practicing virtue and sometimes blogs about raising up saints (she has six children). She loves the Jesus prayer, long runs, and coffee at any time of day. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.