There is a rather brief story in the New Testament Book of Acts about Lydia, one of the women who gathered by the river outside the gate in Philippi and eagerly listened to Paul and his companions, Timothy, Silas and Luke (Acts 16:13-14). The story continues to say that Lydia was “a worshiper of God” and on that day she and her household were baptized (verse 15).
We can gather from this brief story that Lydia was a woman of some means, as a “dealer in purple cloth”. Furthermore, the term “household” usually included not only family members, but also servants and the term “worshipper of God” was a reference to “a woman of high standing”.
The big story within this brief account is that “the Lord opened her heart” and she invited the apostles to stay in her house. Great things did happen as a result of her generosity. What we need to note here is that the Lord opened her heart because she was willing to have her heart opened. Free will is always part of the equation.
Similar stories can be found throughout the centuries and even in our own day. Willingness and openness are the foundation to wonders and greatness.
In January 2012, two women in Cincinnati, Meridith Owensby and Mary Ellen Mitchell Eilerman opened their hearts to a vision of “a nurturing home for women and children in crisis”. By May 2012 a ministry christened “Lydia’s House“ was born and the momentum has continued, with a targeted January 2012 opening with four women and their children and two volunteers in residence.
There is not a day when God is not wanting to open our hearts. The possibilities that follow our willingness are limitless. Find out more about Lydia’s House here.