Preparing for Worship: Lydia: The Man from Macedonia

Preparing for Worship: Lydia: The Man from Macedonia

John Haralson   •   April 28, 2016

“You had me at hello.”

Dorothy Boyd (Renée Zellweger), in Jerry Maguire

In that famous movie quote above, Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has come to his senses, realizing he has been a fool not to share his life with Dorothy. So, he comes back to her and makes his case for why they should be together.

As an agent for professional athletes, Jerry is used to having to persuade people with rhetoric, promises, and even a few facts. But it doesn’t take that much to persuade her. She didn’t need the highly polished speech.

Her heart had been opened towards him.

In Acts 16, we meet a wealthy businesswoman named Lydia. She was a “God-fearer”, which is a term used to describe Gentiles who were attracted to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet had not converted and become a Jew. In other words, she was close to God and attracted to God, but she wasn’t yet part of his people.

We would be right to say that Lydia was seeking God.

Yet, what is even more important is that God was seeking Lydia. Through a very circuitous and perplexing route, God sends Paul and his friends to find Lydia and tell her the good news of the gospel. Though their path no doubt seemed strange to them, God was steadily and sovereignly bringing them to Lydia’s doorstep.

And, God didn’t stop when Paul arrived in Philippi. When Paul began preaching to Lydia and her friends, Acts tells us that God “opened Lydia’s heart to pay attention to what Paul said”. (Acts 16:14).

God lovingly and graciously did what neither Lydia nor Paul could do―opened her heart to receive the good news of the gospel. And, once that happened, she eagerly responded to Paul’s preaching with faith and repentance.

God had her at hello.

This week: Lydia: The Man from Macedonia, Psalm 67, John 5:1-9; Acts 16:6-15; Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5

Liturgy is here.

I hope to worship with you on Sunday.