Updated: Jul 15, 2020
14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us... 40 They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.
Acts 16:14-15, 40 NASB
Confronted with the Gospel
I have been considering the story of Lydia referenced in Acts 16 and I believe that Lydia's reaction to the Gospel is such a great picture of how I want my life to be. We don't know much about Lydia except for a few things: she lived in Thyatira, was a seller of purple fabrics, was a worshiper of God, and...was lost. You see, although Lydia was a worshiper of God, she had not yet been born again. However, when confronted with the Gospel, she listened, responded, and spread it to her entire family!
Loving What God Loves
It is amazing to see what happens next; Lydia "urged" Paul and Silas and "prevailed upon them" to come to her house and stay. I can absolutely relate to the love of the brethren that Lydia immediately desired to show them. It was evidence of her new birth in Christ that she now wanted to use her possessions for the members of the body! And Lydia didn't just provide a quiet, passing invite. No! She urged and pleaded that they would allow her the joy and privilege of sharing her home, food, etc. with those fellow believers standing in front of her.
What's also amazing is that we see in Acts 16:40 that once Paul and Silas are released from prison, the first place they turn to is Lydia's home! Not only that, but it is apparent that her home is also being used as a place to "encourage the brethren"; Lydia's house has become the gathering place for the church in Thyatira!
Surrendering All My Possessions to God
Oh how I want to surrender all of my possessions to the service of God. What a humbling thing, for the true bride of Christ to be strengthened under the roof of my house; for the brethren to be nourished with the food from my cupboard; for the saints to be spiritually edified from the gifts that God has provided to me and my family; and to see my family learn the joy of sacrificially giving to fellow believers who may be lacking. I know the joy that Lydia knew when she gave freely to the brethren and what better use can I have for the possessions that God has entrusted to me?
Lastly, Lydia didn't have to take a class to learn how to be caring for the body of Christ nor did she have to "grow in her walk" before she could figure out how to be obedient with her possessions. With childlike faith she simply acted on the love of the brethren that had so quickly invaded her life and the life of her family.
I pray that I too would simply trust God with all that I have. That I wouldn't instead try to send the brethren elsewhere, or wait for the "professional Christians" to step in, or assume that the gathering place of the body must be in a communal building with a 501(c)(3) tax ID.
But that I would open my home and say "God have Your way; build Your body here"...