~ Tonya Masoner
Lydia was originally from Thyatira, but living in a Macedonian colony, Philippi at the time we encounter her in scripture. She was a wealthy, influential and respected business woman who helped to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. She was a seller of purple cloth which was very expensive and difficult to make. The dye came from the veins of certain shellfish. It was used by members of the royal family and Roman senators to symbolize wealth and status.
Lydia believed in God, but had not converted completely to Judaism. There were no synagogues in the city of Philippi, so if you were passing by or in town you knew to meet at the river. On the Sabbath, Lydia and the other women would gather to worship. I imagine them sitting on the ground, singing, reading the Old Testament and discussing what they had read, when Paul and Silas approached the group and spoke to those gathered there. I’m sure there were those who were reluctant to listen to what Paul and Silas were saying, just as people today are. But God opened Lydia’s heart and she accepted what Paul said. Lydia surrendered her life and was baptized along with the rest of her household.
After Lydia was baptized, she begged Paul and Silas to come and stay at her house. She was eager to give her new missionary friends use of her home. She didn’t see Paul and Silas being there as a disruption or a burden but more of an opportunity. She threw open the doors of her home to help others.
Is God leading you to open the doors of your home to help others in need? Or has God opened a door for you and your still waiting to go in? If you’re waiting, what’s keeping you? For me, it was doubt. I doubted myself. How was God going to use me to help others? I’m just me. There is nothing special about me. But God knew otherwise. Like Lydia, who was in the right place at the right time, so was I.
I was serving at the local food bank. I was walking with one lady and her family to her their car. Along the way, I reached over and put my arm around her. I could sense something was wrong. We got to her car and I asked her if she was ok. She said, “No” but tears began rolling down her face, she told me what was going on. I gave her the biggest hug and held her tightly praying for my new friend. We wiped the tears away and she said, “I needed that”.
What she didn’t know was I needed that too. God used me that day to help someone in need just by listening. Don’t think God can’t use you. God uses each of us in ways that he sees fit. He just asks that you be willing.