They've always intrigued me, these unknown women of the New Testament who pop up throughout Acts and the epistles, showering the Saints of the early Church with shelter and provision and boldly professing their faith in Christ and his salvation. Lydia is a particular favorite, this woman who, attentive to the prompting of the Spirit, listened attentively to Saint Paul preach the Gospel, accepted its Good News, had her whole family baptized, then derailed Saint Paul's plans to move on when she "prevailed upon" them to come and stay at her home.
I wonder this Easter season if I might take the example of Lydia to heart. This little bit we know about her is enough to remind me of something I often don't place enough value on in my own life—zeal for the Gospel.
Am I keeping my heart docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as Lydia and so many unnamed women did in today's reading?
Am I so hungry to know Christ and the story of His Passion and Resurrection that I listen attentively to the Gospel when it is preached to me, or read it myself daily with a heart burning with love?
Do I run with excitement to bring that Good News to my family, to my friends, to my community?
Perhaps I do not have Saint Paul on my doorstep, but I have the presence of Christ at my side every moment of every day, waiting to love me, desperate to love me. Am I just as desperate for Him? Am I begging Jesus to stay with Him, to accompany me, to instruct my heart and mind in His ways? Am I, like Lydia, asking with boldness for the presence of Christ, prevailing upon him with the love expressed by my zeal? Saint Therese once described her burning love for the Savior as "a holy daring" being born within her. This is the heart of Lydia and so many unknown faces of the earliest Christians.
And it could be our hearts, too. If only we would fan the embers of our zeal anew and remember the great gift of the Gospel and our salvation.
Let us be bold, and with holy daring, beg for Christ to draw ever nearer and stay with us. Our faithful God will surely respond with generous love.
Colleen Mitchell is a wife, bringer upper of boys, Gospel adventurer, wanna-be saint, author and speaker. She is the author of the award-winning Who Does He Say You Are: Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels, and the soon to be released When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be. Her latest adventure has taken her from the jungle of Costa Rica where she and her family have served as missionaries for the last six years, to the wilds of a sixth grade classroom in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she is still living her mission to give everyone she meets just a little Jesus. You can find out more about her here.