Summary: Paul had the heart of an ACCOUNTANT, a RUNNER, and a STEWARD, and illustrates for us how to truly do God’s will in our lives. Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.

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3 Odd Jobs of the Tentmaker

Acts 20:18-38

Most of us wear more than 1 hat, and have a side job, whether paid for it or not. Some people have a career, but have a heart for other things. We cannot do it all. The Apostle Paul had the skills and knowledge to be more than a tentmaker, and his other interests helped make him the man of God that he was.

Inside the heart of Paul we have found…

1. Faithfulness

2. Humility

3. Compassion

4. Courage

v. 18-19 Temptations = persecution

Paul was constantly persecuted by the Jews, but he never backed up or backed down. Paul wanted to do God’s will, which meant reaching out to those in regions beyond. He also knew God wanted him to go to Jerusalem…but he also knew he would be in danger once there. God had already warned Paul he was in for some bad things at Jerusalem.

v. 22-23 Imagine I asked you to make a visit on ministry night, and I explain a couple of things to be aware of:

“When you pull into the driveway they will probably throw rocks at your car, but get out of it quickly and they will stop throwing at the car…but then they’ll likely throw rocks at you. Go ahead and approach them. They will start beating on you with their fists or other objects. Once you fall to the ground they will kick you, and tie you up, maybe handcuff, you, and then haul you off to jail, claiming you have committed crimes against them. Ready? Let’s go!”

How many of you think that you’d feel “led” to make a different visit?

This is precisely what Paul is headed for, and he knows it…he’s headed into the mouth of the lion. He knows about the danger, has a promise he’ll be hurt, but he has courage and wants to do the will of God.

Here’s part of God’s warning to Paul about what lay ahead:

21:10-11 A prophet of God named Agabus illustrates what will happen using Paul’s girdle [not the same as today, of course…in Bible days it was a belt. When a man would go a great distance he would tie up the sides of his robe around his waist w/ this girdle]. Given these circumstances, a lesser man would not have gone thru with it. So what happened?

v. 12-14 Paul did what he felt he had to do, knowing he was walking into the face of danger. That is great courage, and we need that in this world today. So let’s take a further look inside the heart of Paul and see how he had this courage.

Paul paints us 3 pictures in chapter 20. He gives us 3 illustrations. He reveals 3 passions of his and we realize he wasn’t just a tentmaker, not just a preacher, but had 3 other occupations he always wanted to do.

“What do you wanna be when you grow up, Paul?”


1. Paul, the accountant

v. 24 “neither count I my life dear unto myself”

This is an accounting term. It means to look at the income and expenses, the assets and the liabilities. To examine the ledger like a profit and loss statement, and count the cost.

Paul says, I put my life on one side of the scale, and doing God’s work on the other side of the scale, and God’s work is more important. He says, if I only live for myself, I’m in the red!

Ill.—back in the ‘50s five men decided they would take the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador, South America. One of them was Jim Elliot, whose wife Elisabeth is a well known women’s speaker today. Her husband, Jim, and 4 other men believed God wanted them to reach this remote Auca tribe, known as the meanest savages on earth. They were a brutal, murderous tribe. The men flew over their village, and found a beach that ran alongside a river where they lived. They decided to fly low, dropping gifts and food to the Indians. This they did for several days, and the villagers would run out and retrieve the things dropped and disappear back into the jungle. Then they decided to land on that beach and make contact. The people came out of the jungle slowly to see these white men, and at first it looked like they had made friends, but then men jumped out w/ spears and turned on these 5 missionaries, and slaughtered them…massacred them! And there are actual aerial photos of those 5 missionaries butchered bodies lying on that beach.

When Jim Elliot was preparing to go, people called him a fool. They said, God has given you a brain, so use it! He replied, “no man is a fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” There may be times where serving God will call on us to give up something…but it’s something we can’t keep anyway. One second after death, nothing we’ve accumulated will matter anyway!

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