Friday, April 10, 2020

Whom do you know? It matters!

You only showed up unannounced to stay in an ancient city if you had a death wish. Life in the ancient world was proverbially nasty, brutish, and short. There was no social welfare and little sympathy for outsiders. Similarly, you did not show up in an ancient city and practice a trade. There were local organizations that protected the precarious lives of handworkers, and there needed to be opportunities to work—shops, contracts, materials, and so on. Without an introduction, starvation and exposure were the probable outcomes for poor single traveling handworkers. It is highly likely then that Paul had an introduction to certain artisans in Thessalonica, asking them to welcome him and to provide him with work. It was this work opportunity that opened up in turn into the friendships that formed the Christian community. Moreover, this opportunity almost certainly came from Lydia’s contacts as an artisan with the handworking communities in this city neighboring hers, and from any other businesspeople in the Philippian congregation.—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 48

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