Lydia : Worshipper of God

Lydia is a women who we can all admire in these modern times. She was a business owner and Christian that showed hospitably yo all.

Acts 16:12-15New International Version

12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

13 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. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 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.

The Woman Who Was Diligent in Business

Scripture ReferencesActs 16:12-15, 40; Philippians 1:1-10

Name Meaning—Lydia, who was an Asiatic, derived her name from the country on the borders of which her native city, Thyatira, was situated. It was not an original Greek name, but probably Phoenician, and a common name meaning “bending.” Readers of Horace will be familiar with Lydia as a popular name for women. There are those writers who think that it means “The Lydian,” seeing Thyatira was a city of Lydia, and that her personal name is unknown.

As a Business Woman

Thyatira was conspicuous for its many guilds which were united by common pursuits and religious rites. One of these guilds was that of dyers. The water of the area was so well-adapted for dyeing, that no other place could produce the scarlet cloth out of which fezzes were so brilliantly and so permanently dyed. This unique purple dye brought the city universal renown. Lydia was a well-known seller of this product (Acts 16:14), and typifies a successful business woman in a prosperous city. Ability, enthusiasm, singleness of purpose and mental acumen were hers, and she prospered greatly in an honorable and extensive calling of “selling purple.” Lydia was an example of the comparatively independent position some women attained to in Asia Minor. That she became prosperous in business is seen in that she owned a spacious home, and had servants to care for her.

As a Devout Woman

While it is not certain whether Lydia was of Jewish descent it is evident that she was a Jewish proselyte. “She worshipped God,” we are told. Often business people are so engrossed in their affairs as to have no time for religion. But Lydia, in spite of all her secular obligations, found time to worship according to the Jewish faith. Daily she made her way to the riverside where prayer was wont to be made. She knew that in order to successfuly meet the stiff competition of the Philippian traders, she needed grace as well as knowledge. At that riverside prayer meeting perhaps she met other Jewish dyers, and with them eagerly waited upon the ministry of Paul and his companions.

As a Christian Woman

As an evidence of her surrender to the claims of Christ she was baptized, “the waters of Europe then first being sacramentally used to seal her faith and God’s forgiveness in Christ.” Her conversion was declared by a public confession, and such was her enthusiasm that she immediately told her household what had happened, and all within it likewise believed and were baptized as disciples of the same Saviour. Thus Lydia had the honor of being Paul’s first European convert—the forerunner of a mighty host to honor the Lord. Becoming a Christian did not make her less of a successful business woman. Now she had Christ as her Senior Partner and with Him we can imagine that trade remained good and that much of her profit was used to assist His servants in the work of the Gospel.

As a Hospitable Woman

Lydia’s transformation of life was evidenced by her eagerness to give missionaries the hospitality of her fine home. Truth in her heart was manifested in kindness to each other—as they ought to be! “Be ye kind one to another.” First came Lydia’s faith, then the winning of her servants to Christ, then her love in gracious hospitality, and finally her reception of Paul and Silas into her home after their discharge from prison, bruised and battered though they were. She was not ashamed of the Lord’s prisoners (see 1 Timothy 5:10; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9). While benefiting from Lydia’s generous hospitality Paul warned all present of the terrible trials before them, and then parting from godly Lydia, praised God for all she had meant to him and his companions.

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