Acts 16.14 NAS
“Lydia… was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the message spoken by Paul.” I have messages to deliver to a variety of audiences… my kids, friends, clients, vendors, neighbors, and many chance acquaintances. Sometimes I am certain of my message and confident in my delivery. I somehow know what must be said. I can be persuasive and effective.
Most of the time I am less sure of myself and it makes no difference what I say. The message will not be received, at least not in the way it was intended.
Paul did not predetermine the response of his listeners. He did not short-circuit the communication process. The apostle understood he was part of the interaction between his audience and the Lord for whom he spoke. For this reason, Paul was confident of his message. Paul trusted God and did not abdicate his role in the message-giving process. He really tried to persuade people everywhere he journeyed, in spite of the rejection he so commonly suffered.
Ultimately, it was the Lord who opened the hearts. Paul knew that. His role was to speak at every opportunity. God’s role was to open hearts. The combination worked perfectly in the case of Lydia for whom “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the message spoken by Paul”.
God designed it that way for Paul and for every ambassador for Christ. I must do my part and He will do His. Without God I can’t. Without me He won’t.
The graphic of God with a human fingerprint speaks of our (human) role in His (Divine) desire to reach the world for Jesus. The artist / graphic designer is Josh Boston from San Diego who kindly allowed me to post this image he calls "A Logo for God". According to Josh, this graphic is "my best attempt at giving the God of the Bible a visual representation". You can find more of his creative art and graphic designs at http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshbostonlabs/.