Acts 16:11 We (Luke, the apostle Paul and others) set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13 On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
Paul and his team were visiting young churches they’d planted when they came upon Lydia. v.14 tells us that “The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.” Two things strike me about this:
First, the Lord prepared Lydia in advance to receive the gospel message. Second, the Lord sent Paul to preach. That means the Lord was the initiator on both sides of the equation – preacher and recipient. However, it’s also true that Paul or Lydia had some agency here. They weren’t robots at the other end of God’s joystick. They could have resisting the prompting of the Lord – but they didn’t. And generations of people were impacted as a result.
Today is my Sabbath day so I’ll be taking time to read, to pray, to listen for the voice of the Lord. I’ll be praying for grace to discern the promptings of God. What work does the Lord have for me? Who are the persons to whom I’m being sent? I pray for grace to discern God’s lead and faith to follow through. Lord, let it be so. Amen.
P.S., I’m still coughing and dealing with illness. Your prayers for healing are appreciated.