“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

Paul’s First European Convert

(Please read Acts 16:11-15)

December 2

Paul’s second missionary tour did not go exactly as he and Silas had planned. When they started to enter Asia and Bithynia, the Holy Spirit said no, and a vision directed them to go instead to Macedonia. It was in Macedonia’s leading city, Philippi, that Paul and his party met and converted a devout lady named Lydia.

Lydia was a businesswoman whose occupation of selling purple fabrics indicates that she was well off or even wealthy. More important, she was a worshiper of God.

Apparently there was no Jewish synagogue in Philippi, since there is no mention of Paul and his group attending one, as was their custom in a new city. So Lydia was devout enough to attend a riverside prayer meeting with other women on that Sabbath. And when she heard Paul’s message about the living Christ, she responded gladly. She had brought members of her household with her, for both she and they were baptized, becoming the first Christians in Europe that we know of.

Our text says that “the Lord opened her heart.” We need not read any miraculous happening into this statement, for the Lord opened hearts by means of having the gospel preached. He still does.

Lydia was hospitable, too. She invited Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke to stay at her home, and soon her home became a meeting place for new Christians Paul and his company converted in Philippi (see Acts 16:40).

This good woman and her conversion, immortalized in Holy Writ, will be a role model for women, and men as well, as long as the world stands.

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