Speaking to the Soul – Wednesday September 22

A short reading and prayers for today

Lydia and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.
Acts 16:15 NLT

Paul’s first convert in Europe was a businesswoman. Lydia came from what we now know as western Turkey and was a dealer in the purple cloth for which her home area was famous. As Paul travelled around he normally began his ministry in a synagogue but it would seem that there wasn’t one in Philippi. So he went to the river where he met up with a group of women who met together to pray. As Paul spoke with them Lydia responded to his message and was baptised. It is fascinating to see that her first response was to offer hospitality, and it seems that she was very insistent.

Hospitality was crucial for the early church because there were no Christian buildings for many years. The only way they could meet would be if people generously opened up their homes. Our homes are interesting places aren’t they? In many ways they are an extension of our personalities and it is possible to become extremely possessive of our homes. The phrase “their home is their castle” isn’t a joke. It conveys the profound truth that, for most of us, our home is a place of safety and comfort. We long to go home at the end of the day and to relax with those we love and where we feel secure.

It is, therefore, very easy for us to be selfish with our homes and to use them merely as a way of satisfying our own needs. The New Testament encourages us to open up the door of our homes. It is good if we have a loving and secure home. It is a gift of God. But it’s a gift that needs to be shared. For the last five years my family has had the privilege of fostering. At first it felt like a big thing to do but it has actually proved to be a huge blessing to us. We have been made richer through sharing the gift of our home. In common with all God’s gifts, our homes are given so that we can give them away.


How have you experienced the blessing of Christian hospitality?


God our Father, we thank you for the gift of our homes and the privilege of being able to share them with others. Amen

Lord, we pray thee
that thy grace may always prevent and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
Teach us to offer ourselves to your service,
that here we may have your peace,
and in the world to come may see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.