“One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia … 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 16:14-15
See Lydia … In the Shadows
The NFL team I was chaplain for once signed a veteran free agent. From the day I met him, he and his wife wanted a behind-the-scenes role in the team ministry as soon as they arrived in the offseason.
They rented a house big enough to host 25 players and wives for the weekly Bible study. As a player, he posted notices of chapel and Bible study in the locker room, and guarded them from pesky trouble-makers. He represented the team ministry to an antagonistic head coach. He introduced me to his teammates and listened to my concerns. From the shadows, he was my MVP of the season.
The Apostle Paul and his two mission partners arrived in the city of Philippi to establish a new church. Paul usually engaged people in conversation at the local synagogue. There was none in Philippi, so they went to the river to speak to several women who had gathered that day. There, Lydia became a Christian and asked Paul and his friends to stay in her home.
Lydia is known to few, but her role is so significant. She holds a place in history as the very first Christian in all of Europe. Lydia was a widow or an unmarried woman, a “seller of purple fabrics.” It implies that she was probably quite wealthy, with a home big enough for visitors. There were no hotels for travelers, so her home became the launching point for Paul’s travel in the region.
Lydia’s uncelebrated service affected a continent. Like my NFL couple, Lydia drastically expanded a ministry from the shadows. Her impact flowed not from prominence, but from her commitment to serve.
Never underestimate your influence from the shadows.
— Tom Petersburg, Catapult Ministries
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