S (Scripture): Acts 16:11 We (I.e. Paul and crew) sailed from Troas straight for Samothrace and came to Neapolis the following day. 12 From there we went to Philippi, a city of Macedonia’s first district and a Roman colony. We stayed in that city several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the riverbank, where we thought there might be a place for prayer. We sat down and began to talk with the women who had gathered. 14 One of those women was Lydia, a Gentile God-worshipper from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in purple cloth. As she listened, the Lord enabled her to embrace Paul’s message. 15 Once she and her household were baptized, she urged, “Now that you have decided that I am a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us.
O (Observation): What a great coincidence. Or was it a hunch? Or was it divinely ordained? The meeting between Paul and Lydia is a great reflection on getting out there and making connections…the results of which one would never know if one didn’t explore.
Lydia is just barely mentioned in this text, but if you keep on reading, you will see that she is a Person of Peace for Paul and his group of disciples.
They go to the water – outside the city gate – because that could be a place of prayer. Paul goes there, to that specific place, and he meets a fellow God-worshipper. Likely Jewish and likely rich (a good business person dealing with expensive purple cloth and a person of faith), Lydia happens to be connected to lots of folks.
Who knows if this was divinely ordained or God happened to be working in their midst…either way, God sparked a great friendship that would connect Paul to a wider community.
A (Application): When we do ministry out in the world, in our every day lives, or during a specially planned ministry event, we never know what the outcome will be. We pray that God would put people into our paths or that God would give us courage.
Then we do the “thing.” We do what we set out to do.
And afterwards, we reflect. Where was God in that activity / event? Who was revealed to be someone who would receive me? Who did I chat with that accepts my life testimony?
We never know going in, but almost always, we learn what God was up to coming out of it.
The problem is in the “not going.” If we don’t go, we won’t know if God was there. We won’t know if God was opening others’ hearts and minds to receive us and our testimony.
So…go! Do it! Send that card! Plan that event! Go and visit those people! And just see what God has been working on.
P (Prayer): Lord, remind us that you are with us, always. Amen.