Lydia, in Acts 16, heard the gospel and was baptized. Paul and Silas were traveling and obviously had no place to stay so she said, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us, vs 15.
Lydia was a new Christian. She lived away from her hometown Thyatira. On her own she had discovered a place of prayer by the riverside where she met with other women to worship God. Now Paul and Silas have come along and taught her about the new way, which she accepted with an open heart.
There is a lot there to be admired and spoken about, but consider something with me this morning. She had many things in her way, including this: What Paul and Silas were teaching was obviously not popular among the majority of the people who formed her customer base—they wound up in the Philippian prison as a matter of fact.
But despite her needs as a new Christian, one in less than optimum circumstances, she begged them to let her be the one to serve. It was not, “Come show me how wonderful this new way really is by doing as much for me as possible.” Instead it was, “What can I do now that I am a Christian? If you don’t allow me to serve your needs, you must not think I am really faithful,” and with that reasoning she practically forced Paul and Silas to accept her service.
Imagine if we all had that attitude. Imagine if, instead of complaining because “the preacher didn’t come see me in the hospital,” our attitudes were, “I am so glad to be well again so I can help those folks who need me.” Imagine if, instead of whining that “the sermon is too long and the singing is boring, and the prayers make me fall asleep,” we said, “I wonder if there is any way I can help those men who serve so well and so faithfully.” Imagine if, instead of griping about the dead church we had the bad luck to be a part of, we spent our time actively searching for those who need help, and wore ourselves out serving them. Imagine if the church were full of Lydias, instead of people like me (and you?).
Even a new Christian with very little knowledge can do what she did. Faithfulness is not a matter of how much you know; it is a matter of trusting God in whatever circumstances you find yourself and joyfully and willingly serving others. If you have judged me faithful, allow me to serve you. When will we ever get it through our heads that James did not know any denominational theologians when he wrote,
If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled; and yet you give them not the things needful to the body; what does it profit? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead in itself. Yes, a man will say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. James 2:15-18.
No, James was writing to Christians!
It doesn’t take a great scholar to figure out the true definition of faithfulness, just a Christian who has truly been converted to the greatest Servant ever known.