The account of Lydia’s conversion to Christ in Acts 16 is wonderful. We see a capable, successful business woman listening carefully to the gospel message, having her heart opened by God to trust in Christ,being baptised and then…
Well, it’s the ‘what next’ that adds the thrilling final touch to Lydia’s story. God wins her to himself, and she gives herself and all she has over to God and His people. Lydia exercises hospitality.
’13 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. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptised, 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)
Of course, we should not be surprised by her act of kindness and generosity. Sharing hospitality with other Christians is a true mark that the gospel has taken root in our lives:
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality. (Rom 12:13)
Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Pet 4:8-9)
Hospitality is not the activity of the particularly keen. It is the natural overflowing of our love for God and his people.
I was particularly struck afresh by this as I read Trilla Newbell’s wonderful article on being hospitable ‘even with a little’ posted on the Gospel Coalition website. Worth a read if you have time.