Meaningful Change

Joy in Christ This past weekend, I conducted my 207th Army Strong Bonds retreat. We had 27 senior military couples who joined me at a hotel a couple of hours away from Joint Base Lewis McChord in order to learn methods and techniques for improving their marriage. One of the topics was something called, “Being a transitional person.” A transitional person according to the material we were using to conduct the retreat is one who creates positive behavioral and decision making changes in others.

In the business world, a transitional person may be one who recognizes talent and helps people achieve better results. In sports, they may be one who recognizes athletic skill and helps promote the athlete to new levels of professional accomplishment. But a true transitional person is one who has such an impact on another that everything about them changes for the better. We even see people like this in the Bible.

One great example is Priscilla and Aquila. We first see them in Acts chapter 18 and then one other time outside of the book of Acts. This husband and wife couple learned to be transitional people at some point in their life while living in Italy. However, being Jewish and not favored by Rome, they found themselves traveling with the Apostle Paul on a few occasions and more importantly worked in a field known as tent makers. Today and unless you are part of the traveling circus or in the military, there is little need for tent makers. In their day, it was a potentially lucrative business based on need and shelter.

Priscilla-Aquila Paul would travel with them, live with them, and I am sure share in the study of God’s word with them in numerous ways. Chapter 18 of Acts is important for another reason, as well. It is here that Paul begins his brake from only teaching Jews to teaching gentiles. Paul, is another example of a transitional person. He was the person God chose to bring the Gospel to the gentiles. What a calling! I wonder who God may be calling you to deliver the Gospel. In one of their many journeys, Priscilla and Aquila over heard a man by the name of Apollos teaching in a synagogue, refuting the Jews, and defending the Bible. Not only did Apollos do well but he demonstrated he was strong in the Word of God. This chapter also pointed out that Apollos had been baptized by John the Baptist. After hearing him, they determined Apollos was a man they wanted to get to know more and invited him over to their house for a meal.

That must have been some dinner and conversation because when the meal was over, Apollos was more informed and more determined than ever to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only was Paul a transitional person but so was Apollos. Meanwhile, Priscilla and Aquila were a transitional couple. Later and due in part to Priscilla and Aquila’s influence, Paul mentions Apollos in 1 Corinthians 3.

For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. – 1 Corinthians 3:4-9

chains2_soft_edge An interesting and larger point made in this passage is the fact that God is the true and ultimate transitional being. Unless we are pointing people to God than all of our efforts to and for change are moot and vain.

Therefore there are four types of transitional people in these biblical passages:

  1. Those who plant spiritual seeds (Apostle Paul)
  2. The couples who care for the laborers (Priscilla and Aquila)
  3. Those who water spiritual seeds (Apollos)
  4. He who gives the increase (God)

Our goal should be to be like one of the first three for the purpose of the fourth, even if the trade that get us there is that of tent maker.

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.