Unlike Peter and other apostles in the early Christian Church, who devoted themselves entirely to their religious ministry and lived off the money donated by Church members.(see Acts 4:34-37) Paul frequently performed outside work, not desiring to be a financial burden to the young Churches he founded. In Theselonkie, Paul states that he and his companions “worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you” ( 2 Theselonians 3:8). Paul’s purpose in working was to set an example for the Christians, desiring that they not become idle in their expectation of the return of Christ, but that they would work to support themselves. He also hoped that his refusal to accept financial support would build his credibility among non-Christians, thus giving him the chance to win over more of them (See 1 corinthians 9, particularly verse 12). For additional glimpses into the Apostle Paul’s tentmaking ministry see Acts 18:1-3; 20:33-35; Philippians 4:14-16.
Financial support is not the only essence of tentmaking. Instead the vocational identity coupled with excellence of work and lifestyle influences colleagues to follow Jesus Christ.