During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 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.
Our lesson this week has shown us a variety of faith behaviors. We have seen obedience, trust, acceptance and love for others demonstrated in this passage. All are important but love is the strongest of all.
Paul loved God and accepted the new call Jesus placed on his life. He followed the guidance of the Holy Sprit to go where God intended him to be to share the Gospel with His children who had not yet heard its love and power. God’s love strengthened Paul and empowered him to lead his group on their mission.
Lydia was a wealthy woman, well respected in her community, but she also knew the love of God and was shown that wealth and position are not what will save us. Through her acceptance of Christ and obedience to God’s will, she was able to share the gifts with which God had blessed her to sustain Paul and his group while they were there, enabling others to hear God’s message of love, and demonstrating how followers of Jesus treat their brothers and sisters.
Loving Lord, help us to follow the example of those like Paul and Lydia that accepted Your call and did the work You had for them. May we be obedient servants, ready to share Your love with the whole world. Amen.