GPS- God’s Positioning System- Monday, 6th Week of Easter- Acts 16: 11-15
Earlier in Acts 16 we were introduced to Timothy whom Paul made his companion and would later write a pastoral letter to; the letter of St Paul to Timothy. After having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to evangelise to Bithynia and Asia (not to be confused with our understanding of Asia) they are led by the Spirit to Macedonia, modern day Greece.
The same God who calls Paul, Silas and Timothy to evangelize in Macedonia also forbids them from evangelizing in other regions. God is in charge of His Church and not man. This is why Church leaders both lay and ordained need to be in tune with God’s Spirit and not popular opinion. For God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not ours.
Verse 12b is an interesting line in the narrative. Even though God’s Spirit leads the trio to the Roman colony of Philipi, the leading city of the district in Macedonia, their mission is placed on pause for we are told that they “remained in this city for some days”. It is not only the place of God’s choosing but also His choice of the time to act.
It is interesting that while in verse nine, Paul was prompted in a vision by a ‘man’ and a native of Macedonia to come to this place, the one who first embraces the Good News is a woman, one who is a foreigner in this land. The text now gives us an interesting detail about Lydia for it tells us she was from the city of Thyatira which is in Asia, the very place that Paul was forbidden to go to.
We are told that Lydia “listened” to God’s word but it was “the Lord who opened her heart”. I have often held that it is foolishness on the part of some to believe that humankind can convert any one; humans are mere instruments of God’s ultimate mission. While we preach the Good News and perhaps passionately, it is foolishness on the part of the preacher to draw attention to themselves, for while our eyes are set on the first pew God intends His message for the last. It is our words but His voice that brings conversion.
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