She went to the river that Sabbath morning. It was the place where she connected, the place where she prayed, it was the place where she worshiped. Those who worshiped at the river were usually women, but this morning by the river, she noticed some men.
You see, while Lydia was making her way to the river, God was orchestrating the steps of the apostle Paul to do the same. Their paths would cross in this place of worship and her life from here on out would never be the same.
God’s Word tells us that Lydia was a God worshiper. She worshiped the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the Good News that God had come in the flesh in Jesus Christ had not yet come her way. As Lydia listened to Paul share the Truth, her heart was opened. She heard the Truth, she received the Truth, and Lydia was changed by the Truth that day…by the river…at the place where she worshiped.
Acts 16 says that Lydia, a woman now changed, responded to the change in her heart.
When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Acts 16:15
Lydia heard, she responded, she believed, she was changed and then, she served. She had just been saved, baptized and she had seen her whole family do the same. You can imagine the joy this new believer felt as she and her family finally found the piece that had always been missing. Isn’t that the cry of our hearts as women, to know the Truth, be changed by the Truth, and see our whole families do the same? Out of a very grateful heart for all God had done for her, Lydia could not keep quiet, she could not be kept down! This changed woman rose up, took her place, and served. She saw a need, she acted on the need and she invited Paul and those traveling with him to come and stay with her family at their home. Lydia’s service was the natural response to a heart changed by the power and love of Jesus Christ.
On the surface, Lydia’s invitation may not have seemed like anything out of the ordinary. These men needed a place to rest and Lydia had the means, but Lydia didn’t just extend an invitation to Paul and his friends that day. The Greek word for invite here is a word that doesn’t mean she just opened her door. The word for invite doesn’t mean she just provided a comfortable place for weary travelers to sleep. This word for invite means she extend an invitation with a purpose, with the purpose to encourage.
Lydia’s service had a greater purpose.
What we would have seen if we were standing at the river that day was a woman extending an invitation. What God saw was a brand new believer taking her place in the Kingdom of God, acting on the spiritual gift He had placed inside of her in order to encourage the people around her! What we would have seen at the river that day was a group of travelers accepting an invitation to stay at a home, but what God saw at the river that day was a church being born.
God’s ways are always higher than ours! Lydia’s service prompted Paul to stay in her home. That home became the birthplace of the first home church in the region. That home church became the first church in Philippi, the very church to whom years later, Paul penned the letter to the Philippians and that letter holds life giving Scriptures that we stand on, live by and hide in our hearts today.
One woman was changed. One woman used that change as a platform to serve, to do in the natural what God called her to do, but oh, the amazing things God was doing in the unseen places that we now see today.
All because one woman was positioned by a river, the place where she worshiped, and at that place she served.
Where do we worship? The local church is the place where we hear the Truth, where we receive the Truth, the place where we are changed by the Truth, and as a response to that change, it should be the place where we serve. The place where we worship is our platform. Serving in our local church may look to us like a woman extending an invitation, a woman making a meal, a woman providing a ride or teaching a Bible Study. That is what we see with our eyes, but oh what God sees with His. God sees in the unseen places. He sees souls saved, lives changed, His Kingdom advancing in ways that will impact generations to come! He sees the greater purpose behind our service. God sees beyond!
Our service has a greater purpose, too.
It all started with one woman positioned in the place where she worshiped. She saw a need, she acted on the need, she met the need…she served.
It all starts with one woman positioned today, in the place where she worships. She sees a need, she responds to the need, she meets the need…she serves.
Let’s be women today, taking our place in the Kingdom, planted in the place where we worship and serving others around us. We may see it one way, but God sees it beyond! He will use our service in ways we cannot even imagine as we follow Jesus, serving His people…one woman at a time!
About Laura Piraino :
Laura Piraino is a wife, mother, teacher, conference speaker and pastor. She is currently on staff at Trinity Community Church in Hockessin, Delaware. Her greatest passion is teaching God’s Word to women with the purpose of empowering them to stand on the Word regardless of the challenges that come their way. Visit Laura’s website at overwhelmedbyGod.net.