‘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 16:15 (NIV).
While Paul shared the good news to Lydia, God opened her heart to receive Paul’s message. And then she opened her heart in hospitality to the apostles. Freely she had received so freely she gave (Matthew 10:8). Rather than seeing Paul and Silas as hindrances, or an interruption to her family and business affairs, Lydia laid out the welcome mat and warmly invited them into her home.
The term hospitality comes from the word hospitable. We practice hospitality when we generously throw open the doors of our homes to care for others. Guests receive the same caring attention and nurture that they would if in hospital.
In hospitality we nurture, strengthen and serve. The result is that others find physical, emotional and spiritual help and healing. When they leave our home, they are refreshed, restored and healthier than when they came. Just as if they were in hospital.
Lydia viewed offering hospitality to Paul and Silas as a privilege. They had brought the good news about Jesus to her and nothing would stand in her way of thanking them for this gift. Not her business as a dealer in cloth, nor the demands of home life and running a family. Are we also able to offer our homes as nurturing places that minister health to others? Or are we too busy and distracted with our own affairs?
‘Heavenly Father, lead me to those who need a nurturing place. A place to be refreshed and rested. Give me a willing and generous heart to open my home to such a person. Thank you.’
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
Sometimes we may make excuses. ‘My home is too small’, ‘I don’t have a guest room’ or ‘I only have one bathroom.’ These issues are inconsequential. Our homes can be nurturing places as guests receive genuine love and care. Our homes can become hospitals for those who are hurting and in need, if we truly understand that ministering to the soul and the body does not require a flashy home, but a sincere heart. Nothing more is needed.
One of the marks of conversion is care for others – physically and spiritually. What is God inviting us as believers to do, as a result of Lydia’s example of hospitality?
Be Greatly Blessed!