She was a businesswoman and a brand new Christian. Although the Bible doesn’t say much about her (Acts 16:13-15), I know I want to be a lady like Lydia. I admire her for loving God, which she demonstrated through her worship. I admire her for her sincerity, which she demonstrated when she accepted and obeyed the gospel. But I especially admire her for her open heart, which she demonstrated by her hospitality.
Lydia’s open heart led to an open home. She began her Christian walk by inviting Paul and Luke to stay in her home. Her heart was in the right place. It was ready to act. The Bible places a great emphasis on the condition of the heart because it is the source of our actions (Proverbs 4:23; 23:7). If we ready our hearts to serve, we will find opportunities.
Lydia followed through with her impulse. Her offer of hospitality was probably a result of multiple emotions (joy, excitement, gratitude), and she wanted to express them in a tangible way. How many times have we thought, “We should have them over sometime,” but never act on those impulses? Often our hearts will be touched by a need but we neglect it until it is too late. Lydia could’ve made excuses. She could’ve thought, “Well, I’m only a brand new Christian.” She could’ve decided she really didn’t know Paul very well after all. Instead, she readily opened her home to her brothers in Christ. We shouldn’t allow excuses (the condition of the house, the level of cooking skills, or even timidity) keep us from acting on those hospitable impulses.
Lydia’s invitation was genuine. The NKJV uses the words “she begged us” and “she persuaded us” (Acts 16:15). “Come to my house and stay.” When Lydia invited them into her home, she was not just being polite, half hoping they would decline. She truly wanted to take care of them. She removed all hesitancy on their part by pleading with them to show her sincerity. When I was a teenager, my family moved to a small town in Georgia. A thoughtful, older couple came to see if we needed help unpacking. As this couple was leaving, the gentleman said, “Well, come go home with us!” My sister and I looked at each other, then at our parents and said, “Can we?” We ended up spending the afternoon at their home, and it wasn’t until several months later that we learned the invitation wasn’t a literal one. “Y’all come home with us” was a regional expression folks would say at the end of a conversation. It really meant, “Let’s get together soon.” These new friends were good sports because they just chuckled and took us home with them (although they did tease us about it quite often over the next couple of years). Lydia didn’t extend a half-hearted invitation. Instead of saying, “We need to have y’all over sometime,” we need to genuinely invite, even compel others into our homes.
Lydia’s example of hospitality is a practical model for us. With open hearts and genuine invitations, the amount of fellowship that will result can only fill our lives with joy and spiritual growth.
Prayer for Today: Lord, help me remember that my home is Your home so I will wear it out in Your service.