We know from scripture that the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker and that Jesus was a carpenter, however, there is not much detail about their trades in the bible. What we can do is to dig into the story and explore some common sense conclusions.
Both trades were commonly performed in the marketplace, somewhat like a modern day’s farmer’s market. Reading about the culture and practices during the time of Jesus’ childhood, I learned that carpenter’s booths were often next to the metal smiths trade area, as their combined trades where used to make and repair farming implements—plows, sickles, cart wheels. Very practical needs. Similarly, a tentmaker would be in the marketplace.
Take your ministry into the marketplace and you may experience what I call the tentmaker’s advantage.
We are all aware that professional ministry can keep us from the marketplace and prevent us from ministering to the most-needy. Your “tent-making,” is anything to moves you in to the real world marketplace to be face-to-face with non-believers. It can be a second job, a hobby or part-time trade.
Now, think about what Jesus and Paul did in their trades. They talked to people. They did not bury their heads in their work, and while we do not have biblical records of conversions or healings, it is safe to say that these things did occur through our examples, in the marketplace. Use the tentmaker’s advantage whenever you want to reach people that would never step inside a church.