Wednesday, May 31

Co-workers

Scripture: Acts 16

Acts 16:13–14 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the side of the river, where we thought there would be a place of prayer, and we sat down and began to speak to the women who had assembled there.14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying.

Observation

First, Paul’s time in Philippi is marked by encounters with three individuals: Lydia, the demonized slave girl, and the jailer. Each encounter is unique as are the individuals. These three were the beginnings of the church in Philippi. It reminded me not to think in terms of crowds but individuals. God is working in the person in front of me right now.

Second, Paul’s usual practice was to go to the synagogue. Evidently there wasn’t a synagogue in Philippi. There had to be at least 10 Jewish men to form a synagogue, so perhaps the Jewish community was smaller than that. There was “a place of prayer” outside the city by the river where women gathered to pray. Paul started there. 

Paul shared the gospel—that was his part. God opened Lydia’s heart to respond—that was God’s part. Bringing people to Christ is not our job alone, but our shared work with God Himself. We are co-workers with God: we plant and water, but God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). We speak, but God opens the heart to respond. 

John Stott commented on this: “Although the message was Paul’s, the saving initiative was God’s. Paul’s preaching was not effective in itself; the Lord worked through it. And the Lord’s work was not in itself direct; he chose to work through Paul’s preaching. It is always the same.”

It’s a partnership; it is always the same.

Application

I was honored to speak at our denominational convention last night. I prayed, I planned, I spoke…but it is God who opens hearts to respond. It is always the same. I’m grateful that He did His part! 

Today, I want to be mindful of the individual who stands in front of me. What is God doing in them and how can I cooperate with God? We are co-workers (although He does all the heavy lifting).

Prayer: Jesus, I love You and I’m forever grateful that You opened my heart to respond! Thank You! Help me today to be fully present with each person and then do my part knowing that You will do Yours. It is always the same!

More: 1 Kings 7-8, Psalm 64, Ephesians 2