Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 16:14
“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.” – Acts 16:14
Many people who read this verse simply see a woman of Thyatira who was a seller of purple. As a side item, purple was the most valuable color, which was obtained from shellfish. It was chiefly worn by princes and the rich, and the traffic in it would be very profitable. So based on this, we can assume she was well off regarding her financial situation. Yes, Lydia is the focus of this verse, but not her profession or her income. The most important idea in this story is her religious fervor.
As we read further in our focus verse we see she was a worshipper of God. It is probable that she was a proselyte to the Jewish religion. She worshipped the true God, the God of Israel and not the many gods of the gentiles. She was listening to what Paul was saying about Christ, “and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” Acts 16:14b. She was so desirous of knowing the truth, God opened her heart to understand and ultimately respond to the truth of the gospel. Then in the next verse we read, “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.” Acts 16:15. Her and her household were saved and baptized. Paul himself believed she was being faithful to God and accepted her invitation to stay with them.
Now, Paul did not go directly to her and preach the gospel. She was simply one of several who had gathered together where Paul and several others had gone to a place to pray. “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.” Acts 16:13. However, in his speaking to the women there, God used Paul to help Lydia understand the truth of the gospel.
Now I have a similar story regarding a young man who had left the church and his home, thus turning away from God. I was at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant around 2:00 AM buying breakfast and speaking with a man who was hitchhiking and I had picked up to take him home. As we were eating, I was presenting the gospel to him, and when I mentioned the church I attended, The Rock Church in Homestead FL, a young man came over to me and asked me if I was a member. I told him I was and he told me he had gone to the Rock Church in Virginia Beach, VA but when his family moved here, he went to church for a time but then had a falling out with his dad and he left the church and moved in with a drug user and began using them himself. He then asked me to take him home, so we all left, dropped off the other man who was not interested in hearing about God, and then this young man and I walked along the beach behind his apartment for a couple of hours discussing his situation. To make a long story short, his dad had nothing to do with him after He left and the only friends he had left were those who took drugs with him. I convinced him to call his dad and ask him if he could move back home. I told him he had to move out of there and give up all drugs and go back to church. After we prayed for a while, I left and he assured me he would follow through.
I had no contact information and thus lost contact with him. One evening, about a year after meeting with him, God placed him on my heart and I asked God to show me that he had done as was promised. Well, that weekend the Christian band I worked with as the sound and lights person was performing in a park in North Miami. When we were setting up, a young man ran up to me, and it turned out to be the person I met at Howard Johnson’s and spoke to about going back home. He said he did what he promised. He made amends with his father and started going back to church, leaving the drug life behind. He was attending a church in the area with a leader who used to attend the Rock Church but was now a leader in the church the young man was currently going to. I was so thankful and praised God that this young man came back to God.
It is important that we take every opportunity to be a light in dark places, showing the truth of the gospel to as many as possible. And as with Lydia and Paul, and this young man and myself, you never know how God will use these opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others through us. So even though you are speaking with one or several people, be open to who God is speaking to through you, and ensure you are open to helping them to develop a strong and joyous relationship with Christ. There is no greater joy you will ever experience in this life.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.