Can God Still Use Me?

“…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. “ ACTS 16:11-15

I was about twelve years old walking to the local grocery market with a friend and a lady I’d never met. This particular lady was an acquaintance of my friend’s older brother. In her arms was an infant, maybe a few weeks old. There was nothing odd about this fact aside from the fact we were walking quite a long distance. I’ll never forget the moment when a car pulled up beside us and a middle-aged woman suddenly jumped out and handed us a stroller for the new mom. I’m not sure why that moment stands out in my mind. It was a very generous act, but the thing I remember the most was the infants name. That sweet little girl was named Lydia.

I’ve always loved the name Lydia. I tease my husband that our next child, if another girl will be named Lydia. There is significance in this name that fills my heart with joy as it was a lady in the Bible I admire.

Do you ever notice how God is an equal opportunist? In a society that still puts women as second-class citizens, God doesn’t. He allows women to grow and birth babies, be the first to see the resurrected Lord, and in this case first to start the Christian movement across Europe!

The name Lydia is important as she is considered the first European Christian convert. Lydia may be the person the Lord wants to encourage you with today. Her life as a believer began later in life. Some say she was on the fence regarding Judaism. She believed in God, but had yet to hear the Gospel. Upon hearing the Gospel, she is so moved by the Holy Spirit that not only is she baptized but all the members of her household. She then offers her home in hospitality to the Apostle Paul and his team. Her home would eventually be the first home of the Philippian church (Acts 16:40).

Europe has a special place in my heart. It is where I have served the most missions. My heritage, like many of yours has its roots in Europe. How cool is it to think a woman was the first one to get to know Jesus on a deeper level

There are some key things that stand out about Lydia’s life to me. It is interesting to note the Bible does not mention her husband. Some speculate that she was widowed at this point. Many know her as a business woman. She was the dealer of purple dye possibly cloth as well. She was a successful business woman with a home that included servants. Philippi was a Roman colony and important city in Macedonia. It was seen as the gate to Europe for trade and commerce. Lydia’s business would thrive in conditions like this. Yet her money did not satisfy her needs. She knew the only thing that could truly satisfy her needs was God. How often do we try to make a little more money to find that contentment when our true contentment comes from the Lord?

The title of today’s devotional is Can God Still Use Me? I chose this title to encourage those in the group that are maybe entering or in their retirement years. This was my second week at a ladies Bible study in a new church we started attending. Many of the women are in this stage of their life and I’ve heard that comment a few times. Can God still use me? Maybe you feel that way? Your children are grown, your career is completed now time to relax! Or is it? Maybe you are a widow as well? What do you have in store for me Lord? It seems like Lydia’s ministry really exploded at this point in her life. Maybe yours is entering that season as well. With time and resources on your side, who knows what an impact you are capable of making for God!

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