S (Scripture): Acts 16:11 We (Paul and Silas) put out to sea from Troas and sailed a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia, a Roman colony. We stayed in this city for some days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had assembled there. 14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us.
O (Observation): As Paul and Silas were going out on missions to share the Gospel, the Spirit led them to Macedonia, and specifically to Philippi. There, they thought about where they would look to develop a relationship with some who might already have some belief in God.
So they went to the river on the Sabbath, suspecting that some believers might be gathered there for prayer and worship. He was right : )
While at the river, he met Lydia, a dealer in purple cloths…and more importantly, a God-fearing woman. She was a successful business person and seemed to be the leader of her household. Eventually, Paul and Silas baptized her whole household.
Lydia was the right person in the right place and was essentially a gatekeeper to a small community (her household). Back then, a household might be as many as 30 or so people, like an extended family or so.
A (Application): Sometimes, spreading the faith takes just one relationship. Reaching out in kindness to one person just might make all the difference. As Paul and Silas befriended Lydia, perhaps you and I can trust that God will lead us to the right relationships to help spread the Good News.
Quite often, our provincial minds tell us that if we are to be evangelists, that we have to personally be the ones to develop all of the relationships. That’s simply not so. As Paul and Silas worked with Lydia, she led them to her household. Lydia’s existing relationships were open to Paul and Silas now. So, too, with us, we may end up in a relationship that opens the doorway for us to make even more connections with people. Those connections can perhaps lead to people receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We are not left alone in this journey. God guides and equips folks, like Lydia, to share in these ventures with us.
Who has been a Lydia for you? Have you been a Lydia for someone else?
P (Prayer): Lord, you equip us and others. You send us out to meet the Lydia’s of the world. Strengthen our faith to help us know that you are already at work in others, even as we go out to do your work. Amen.