Case Study – Paul at Macedonia

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. Acts 16:9-15.

Notice that Paul associated “helping” in Macedonia with “preaching” in Macedonia. Nothing here, nor anywhere else, about planting churches or starting something. It was rather the gospel seed which was to be planted. Nothing here about cleaning up the social ills of the city or beginning a never-ending conversation.

Notice that Lydia’s conversion is attributed to God, not to the latest methods. Are we overly dependent upon methods, books, and techniques or are we knocking at heaven’s door?

Where, oh where were the men? No doubt some in our day would have scolded these women: How dare you assemble without men and without elders and deacons?

What do you see or not see in this account?